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which inspired confidence, as to the young man's capacity for a right guidance of himself, through this troublesome world; there was an extreme restlessness in his eye, and something almost haggard in his look, which told of many an unsatisfied craving, and too probably a deep-seated ambition. It might have been seen at a glance, that he was not a person who ever attempted to control his inclinations, or to practise any sort of self-denial and discipline; his very attitude proved this, as he lay lounging on his chair, with his head leaning against the window, and his long black hair hanging loosely over bis eyes. He was searching into the darkness with that far-stretching gaze, which is rather the looking out of the soul into futurity, than the perception of palpable objects by the mortal sense ; and it was in truth into the future that he was gazing, but though he would not see it, it was a future bounded by one narrow grave, into which himself and his dreams and plans would all be gathered, to await the fire which shall try every man's work.
There remains but one member of the family to be mentioned, and we have only followed the example of the rest of the world in taking no notice of her hitherto. Maude Elliston, the second daughter, was not only plain in countenance, but deformed in no slight degree. She was silent and reserved in manner, and none of her relations seemed to take much interest in her : it was seldom, indeed, that she was prominently brought forward at all. She was not considered sufficiently attractive to take her place in the show-room, where Charlotte and Fanny were stationed every day, for the ostensible purpose of attending to their brother's lady customers, but with the real object in their secret bearts of displaying themselves and their elegant dresses to all who might come into the shop, and that certainly without distinction of sex. Maude was thus much left to herself; and as she had a great taste for drawing and embroidery, she spent the greater part of her time in executing patterns for laces and designs of various kinds, which she performed with great skill.
One of the deepest thoughts in Maude's life might have been discerned by a single glance into her eyes at this moment; for life—the actual burning life-is in thought, and not in action. The outward machinery of circumstance and deeds is but like the scenery round the stage where the drama is acted the momentous drama that is for ever working in the soul, as it vibrates between heaven and hell, and by every thought, by every passing feeling, must needs, according to the indomitable law of its undying nature, tamper with its own eternity. It matters not where the feet may be straying in the visible world, or on what the eyes may be looking, or the hands labouring, still deep and silent within the spirit lives its own separate life,
and travels on its chosen way. It abides in a world of its own, where the scene shifts like the mortal landscape as we journey on. It hath a firmament above it, through which, looking up, it may --if it will-behold the Throne of God, and the glory of Him Who sits thereon, or else only the blackness of darkness : for in this kingdom, where the soul reigns alone, even as in the new Jerusalem, there is no radiance of sun or moon, but God and the Lamb are the light thereof, and if they shine not upon it, all is dark. And it hath two pathways wherein to choose its pilgrimage; the first strewn with thorns that have fallen from the Crown of One Who went before upon that steep ascent; and the other thick with blossoms that intoxicate the sense with sweet, but poisonous perfume. And too surely it is in this hidden life of thought, and not in the existence of outward action, that the eternal destiny is accomplished.
Therefore may we gain more insight into the real history of Maude Elliston from the one look, which, as we have said, revealed the weightiest thought in her life, than from the most detailed account of her daily proceedings. The look was fixed upon her brother Henry, with an intensity of tenderness which showed that on him was concentrated the full power of those deep affections, which are at once a woman's glory, and her peril. He was dearer to her than anything else on earth; he was, in fact, the only being whom her spirit loved,- for there is a vast difference between those natural, or, as we may call them, inevitable affections of the heart which arise spontaneously for all, whose blood is the same as that which warms our own veins, and the love which is given by free election to some noble soul, worthy, by its inherent qualities, to inspire it. It was not the brother whom Maude loved, nor yet the fair face and graceful form; it was the mind, the intellect, that seemed to bring flashes of a strange light into the commonplace monotony of their existence, and charmed and absorbed her by vague aspirations, -by longings and strugglings, which neither Henry nor herself suspected, to be the stifled yearnings of an immortal being, revolting against its living burial, amid the dust and chaff of earth.
Her love was, perhaps, all the deeper, that it had in it no small share of the sweetness of self-sacrifice. Henry cared not for her any more than the rest of the family did; she had no brilliant qualities to counteract ber unprepossessing appearance, and he believed, as they all did, that her character was as mediocre as her face,-that she was habitually silent because she had no thoughts to communicate, and reserved because she had nothing to le. Yet, for all this, she was the only one of the family with whom he ever chose to associate. He took her to walk with him whenever, as happened very frequently, he was moody and out of humour; and he was in the habit of telling her many, though not quite all, of his wild projects and hopes. But he treated her with this distinction simply because he knew she loved him, and took an intense interest in the veriest trifle concerning him; and there is nothing so soothing to self-love as this species of reverential affection. Besides, she was absolutely necessary to him, as a safety-valve, to whom he might pour out all the thoughts that boiled within him ; with the certainty that they would be received by her as a sacred confidence, instead of being instantly communicated to half a dozen bosom friends, as Fanny would have done, or scoffed at as by Charlotte, who was of a most unsympathizing disposition.
We have analysed Maude's love for her brother, but she herself bad never thought of thus dissecting it; she only knew that Henry was the “salt of her life," as the Easterns have it,the one object of interest and excitement, which called into play the various feelings of hope and fear, and manifold desires that else would have lain dormant, in the unvarying atmosphere of the haberdasher's shop.
But all this time Mr. Elliston is on the stairs; and had any one of the numerous dependants who looked to his employ for their daily bread ventured to keep him waiting one half as long as we have now presumed to do, it is certain they would never have crossed his threshold again. Time was money with him, and money was hope, ambition, joy, life! Yea, more, it was his faith and his religion, his master, and his GOD.
He came in—a tall, powerful man-his shoulders a good deal bent, so that the shaggy head, with its roughly-combed hair, already quite grey, drooped somewhat on his breast; and the keen, sharp eyes were almost hid by the bushy eyebrows. There was no greeting to any of the family; but, pushing aside Maude, who had risen on his entrance, he strode to the head of the table, and sat down with a muttered blessing on the meal, which was almost ludicrous, from his evident unconsciousness that he was performing this duty, the lingering relic of his longburied mother's pious teaching. With the words yet on his lips, uttered in exactly the same tone as he was wont to administer reproof to his children, he brandished his knife and fork, and attacked the cold beef with an energy which threatened its speedy annihilation. This sight appeared to awaken some anxiety in the mind of his son John, who wheeled round his chair, threw the newspaper over his shoulder,--heedless of the fact that, by so doing, he entirely obscured the light of his good mother's countenance, on whose face it spread itself,--and fell to on his account with extraordinary rapidity of mastication.
The rest of the family remained in their several positions till
suddenly the father looked up with a glance that shot terror into the hearts of more than one of them, and exclaimed, “ Sit down, every one of you, this minute! What do you mean by standing there, as if you expected the food to drop into your mouths without your moving a finger? Prettily you would starve, if your bread depended on your own exertions !-a set of lazy, good-fornothing creatures ! Is this the way you waste your time all day, when I am not here? Don't you know those bales from London must be unpacked to-night?"
This thundering summons had its due effect. Mother and daughters were seated in a moment, and Henry, with a look of disgust on his handsome features, came slowly to take his place the last. Mr. Elliston turned round upon him with a sharp, 66
And you, sir, the worst of the lot, out and out,--pray where have
you been for the last few days?—taking your pleasure, I'll be bound, with some fellow as graceless as yourself. How long do you expect to keep your place at the factory, if you go on at this rate, I should like to know ?"
“I was out on business," said Henry, fixing his black eyes on his father with a look which demanded so plainly by what right he was questioned, that the old man's angry voice died away into an indistinct grumble, and he devoted himself anew to his supper.
When he next spoke, it was to John; and there was something almost deferential in his manner towards him, which arose from the simple fact that he believed him to be even more longheaded and calculating than himself, and quite as deeply impressed with the far-spread creed, that the heaping up of riches, not knowing who should gather them, was the end of man's creation.
“I say, John," he said, with a chuckling sound expressive of much satisfaction, “that fellow Brown is swamped at last. I passed the shop this morning, and there were the windows all placarded over, Stock selling off!' 'great sale !' 'immense reduction! Ha, ha! I thought how it would be, when he came sneaking to me the other day, to ask me to lend him a helping hand,
---as if I were green enough to set my shoulder to a falling wall!”
“We may make something out of him now, however," growled John, as he raised his tankard of beer; and the two were speedily immersed in an interesting conversation as to the best mode of reaping golden fruit from their neighbour's ruin.
Meanwhile, Fanny, having finished her supper, had left her place, and was crouching down at her mother's side, intent on gaining her compliance to some wish, and coaxing her pretty much after the fashion of a kitten bestowing its blandishments' on a stout old tabby. Now Mrs. Elliston did very dearly love this youngest child of her's,—the last whose infant smile bad repaid her a hundred fold for all her suffering, and given to her future a new hope and a new anxiety. In all that mass of flesh, embodying such a vast amount of worldliness and egotism, there was one pure, unselfish corner, and that was filled with little Fanny, who was more to her than all her other children put together, with Mr. Elliston to boot. In the intervals of the conversation that was going on between the father and the son, which sounded exceedingly like a grumbling dialogue between two hungry bears, the insinuating voice of the petted daughter was heard in accents, sometimes of pleading, and oftener of reproach.
“Now, mother, do!-how can you be so cross !--father will be gone! It is very hard, on my birthday, too. I am sure I work, till I look as old and grim as Charlotte !"
“ Hush, child! Charlotte is not old; she is a fine young woman, though I says it as shouldn't.”
" That's just it, and I daresay you like her a great deal better than me; it is a great shame, and I won't bear it !"
"My pretty Fanny, my pet child, you know I love you best ; there's a dear, don't look so !”
“Well, then, ask father, like a nice, good mother, as you are ; I won't have Bessy Jackson say she can go a pleasuring on her birthday, while I'must stay at home and work, work, as if we hadn't bread to eat.”
“ Bessy Jackson, indeed! I should think not! an upsetting miss as ever I saw! Come, I'll ask-don't be afraid --wait a moment till he has finished talking."
Mrs. Elliston fixed her eyes on her husband, and waited for a propitious moment. This she wisely judged to be at that happy interval between the emptying and replenishing of his plate.
John,” she began, “ do you know what day to-morrow is ?” Mrs. Elliston, like most wives, was a self-taught diplomatist.
“To-morrow? ay, it is the 3rd of September. By the way, John, you must see to that bill of lading; that reminds me it should be looked to at once."
"Quick, mother,” whispered Fanny, "they will be off again about these odious bills."
Mrs. Elliston, like an experienced soldier, knew that, if she lost this favourable moment of attack, her cause was lost.
“I declare, husband, you have no heart for your own children; why it is poor little Fanny's birthday.”
• Well, and what of that?” said Elliston, who, like his wife, had centred all his affections, such as they were, on one of his