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exercise was prohibited, though when the weather permitted she was taken out regularly for an airing, and on such occasions was generally accompanied by her anxious and tender mother.
During my visit, it was arranged that these drives should contribute to my special entertainment. In the course of the week we visited the parks, public buildings, and some interesting exhibitions; in the latter cases, however, Emma chose to remain in the carriage, and quietly amused herself by contemplating the busy scenes around. Of Mr. Dalton I saw very little. He was engaged in business during the day, and I believe he seldom spent the evenings in his own house. To me he seemed a person calculated to inspire fear rather than affection, and his solicitude on behalf of his family, manifested itself principally in surrounding them with what he deemed suitable to their position in life. Of these children, his only son, now in his fourteenth year, was his chief pride ; he was a fine, manly boy, but injured by a mistaken education and unbounded indulgence. Although naturally of an open and generous disposition, Arthur Dalton, even at this early age, had become tyrannical and selfish ; nor was this surprising, since the treatment he received tended to give him exalted ideas of his importance, and to render him exacting and supercilious.
The day before our departure for school was fixed upon for a large dinner-party, and Elizabeth laughingly promised me an introduction to Sir Edward Staunton, who was to be one of the guests. She informed me that I should be expected to appear with her at the dessert, and afterwards accompany the ladies to the drawing-room, where she had engaged to sing a song which was very popular during the election already referred to. For some cause or other this arrangement was altered, and Elizabeth expressed her disappointment and vexation in no measured terms. “Mamma has decided it will be better for us to spend our last evening with Emma,” she said, “ but this is only an excuse I am convinced, as my father generally makes it a point I should see company during the vacations. I cannot imagine what is the real reason for this provoking change.”
I refrained from expressing any opinion on the subject, but felt greatly annoyed, as I could not help suspecting that my presence was in some way objectionable to Mr. Dalton ; and
that I was the innocent cause of Elizabeth's disappointment. Never had I looked forward to my return to the Manor-house with so much satisfaction as now. In spite of the worldly advantages by which I saw this family surrounded, I was sensibly alive to the absence of that domestic happiness which I had ever associated with the idea of home. Neither could I avoid reflecting upon the total want of religion as a governing principle in the heads of this establishment.,
My brothers and myself had occasionally accused our parents of over-strictness in their opinions; this generally happened when they deemed it their duty to thwart our inclinations, or deny us some wished for pleasure; but, even whilst smarting under disappointment, or feeling impatient under restraint, we were compelled to respect the motives which influenced their conduct. We had been trained so entirely in the spirit of Christian love, as to feel convinced that their chief delight was to make us happy. But whilst they were gentle and kind in manner, we always found them firm in resisting what they considered to be evil; hence, although we frequently entertained different views on the points in question, we invariably submitted to their decision, never dreaming of disobeying their expressed wishes. Well would it be if religious parents generally adopted the maxim—“Gentle in manner, firm in deed;" if they infused greater mildness and affection into the domestic treatment of their children, encouraging an open, unreserved interchange of sentiments; being willing to listen, sympathise, and advise; yet on all points where principle is involved, maintaining the truth in the spirit of love. The most consistent and devoted parents cannot change the unrenewed natures of their children, or make them really religious. This must be the work of the Holy Spirit, since it is beyond the power
of human effort to subdue the unregenerate will, and alter the natural indisposition of the beart towards God. It is, nevertheless, the grievous fault of parents professedly Christian, if they do not compel a respect for religion, for it is easy to perceive that the tendency of such respect will be to guard from temptation, and at the same time prove an incentive to virtue and piety.
It was with no very agreeable feelings that Elizabeth and myself put aside the white dresses intended for the evening, and
prepared to obey the summons to an early dinner. Dear little Emma was likely to derive anything but pleasure from our society; Elizabeth was positively ill-humoured; I was offended and mortified. On entering the study, where we generally dined with Emma and her governess, we found Arthur seated at the table, trying to cut up a fowl. He informed us that he was taking a lesson in the art of carving, Miss Martyn having resigned her post in his favor. He was in high spirits, and so fully occupied with his business, that he did not immediately perceive the cloud which rested on his sister's expressive countenance. Emma, who looked upon Arthur as the most clever and witty of human beings, was highly delighted with his company; and good-natured Miss Martyn, who was almost as much a child as her pupil, evidently regarded the young gentleman's performance and remarks as extremely entertaining. I could not help feeling diverted by her simplicity, and joined in her merriment the more heartily, because she was so completely unsuspicious of my true reason for doing so. Elizabeth, however, was too angry to be amused even with what was ridiculous. Her gloomy looks at length provoked the comments of her brother. “What ails you, Elizabeth ?” he asked ; "Has your
dressmaker disappointed you? Or are you indulging a little sentimental regret at the idea of our approaching separation ? Or do
you think it necessary to reserve your smiles for the evening, when I shall doubtless be required to echo your praises, whilst I am informed what a sweet, charming, accomplished sister I am blessed with. Miss Wilmot will be able to judge how fascinating Miss Dalton can appcar, when she has donned her evening dress and company manners.
“Miss Wilmot will have no opportunity of judging," she replied, petulantly.
“How so?” he enquired, addressing me. “ You do not seriously intend to remain moping here, I hope ?"
I colored, and Elizabeth answered for me, by informing him of his mother's wishes. As she did so, an angry flush spread over his animated features; he muttered something in which the words, “nonsensical pride,” were distinctly heard; then, turning to the servant in attendance, asked if his father had returned home, and being answered in the affirmative, he apologized for leaving the table so abruptly, and withdrew.
Shortly afterwards Elizabeth and myself retired to our bedroom, where we busied ourselves in packing certain little trinkets we had intended to wear. This done, we seated our. selves on our trunks, and talked of our approaching journey. I tried to interest my friend by an account of my visit at Mr. Selwyn's, and the pleasure I anticipated in having Anna for a companion.
Whilst thus employed, some one knocked gently at the door of our room.
“Come in,” said Elizabeth, without rising from her seat.
The order was instantly obeyed, and Arthur, ready dressed, stood at the entrance.
“Do you read Grecian History at your school, young ladies ?” he asked.
“ Don't be tiresome, Arthur ; we are engaged, and you have no business here."
" That remains to be proved, my dear sister. Answer my question, and I will go. Do your studies at the Manor-house extend to Grecian History ?”
Certainly. What then ?” “ Then let me advise you to keep up your spirits, and prepare to tell me who ruled Greece during the popularity of that illustrious hero.” So saying, he closed the door and ran down stairs.
"I cannot guess his meaning, can you, Caroline ?" asked Elizabeth.
“I think so."
At this moment there was a second knock at the door, quick and deccided.
“I beg your pardon, but I forgot my principal errand. It was to inform you that the honor of your company is requested by Mrs. Harmer, who has been some time waiting in the study. She is especially anxious to see Miss Wilmot, having discovered that she is on most intimate terms with that young lady's papa, who once nursed her when a baby. For this, or some other equally important reason, she is desirous to be introduced to that estimable gentleman's accomplished daughter."
Arthur spoke with an affected drawl, and his sister laughed heartily.
Come, Caroline,” she said, “We must hasten down." “But first tell me who is Mrs. Harmer?"
“ A friend of my mother's 5-an intimate friend—the wife of my father's partner. Arthur does not like her; he calls her a flatterer. But he is very ungrateful; for she ingly fond of him, and indeed of us all.”
We found Mrs. Harmer seated by the side of Emma's couch ; on a small table beside her was a fine bunch of grapes, which she had brought for the little girl, and with which she fed her from time to time, as she lay in the reclining position to which she was doomed the greater portion of every day.
The appearance of this lady prepossessed me greatly. On being presented to her by Elizabeth, she won my warmest regard by the manner in which she spoke of my beloved father, who she informed me was well known to her family. She added, that although her personal acquaintance with him had not been renewed since she was a mere child, she had a lively recollection of the esteem and affection with which he was regarded by many of her friends, who had formerly attended his ministry. She farther expressed her regret that she had not sooner been aware of the relationship in which I stood to dear Mr. Wilmot, as it would have afforded her pleasure to have seen me at her house, &c. Mrs. Harmer's delicate attentions proved very gratifying to my self-love, and I felt more at ease than I had done since my arrival in London; while Elizabeth, dear, generous Elizabeth, so cordially sympathised in my pleasure, that she too looked happy and good-humoured. We were still chatting with Mrs. Harmer, when Arthur entered the study.
“I am sorry to break up so delightful a party,” he said, “ but mamma particularly wishes to see Mrs. Harmer in the drawing-room to consult her on some important matter. Now, girls," he continued, when the lady had disappeared, “I have news for you. But before I let you into my secret, I must know if you have discovered who ruled Greece when Themistocles was popular at Athens ?”
(To be continued.) THE MOUNT, Newcastle under Lyme.