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have a faithful old servant to stand by them, and never to grumble nor make a fuss, nor go back on the past, nor go in for expensive dishes—one that wouldn't mind cooking a chop or making a cup of tea, if that was all we could afford—why, I think, Nancy"
But Nancy could not hear any more. She made a little rush forward, with a kind of convulsive chuckling that was half sobbing and half laughter. "And me here!" cried Dr Marjoribanks's famous cook, who had spent a fortune on her gravy-beef alone, and was one of the most expensive people in Carlingford—"me as has done for you all your days ! me as would—if it was but a roast potato!" cried the devoted woman. She was in such a state of hysterical flutter and excitement that Lucilla had to take her almost into her arms and put the old woman into a chair and bring her to, which was an occupation quite in Miss Marjoribanks's way.
"But I shall only have two hundred a-year," said Lucilla. "Now don't be rash; there will have to be a maid to keep things tidy, and that is every farthing I shall have. You used to spend as much in gravybeef," said Miss Marjoribanks, with a sigh.
"Oh, Miss Lucilla, let bygones be bygones," said Nancy, with tears. "If I did, it wasn't without many a little something for them as was too poor to buy it for themselves—for I never was one as boiled the senses out of a bit of meat; and when a gentleman is well-to-do, and hasn't got no occasion to count every
penny The Doctor, I will say for him, was never
one as asked too many questions. Give him a good dinner on his own table, and he wasn't the gentleman as grudged a bit of broken meat for the poor folks. He did a deal of good as you nor no one never know'd of, Miss Lucilla," said Nancy, with a sob.
And then his daughter and his faithful old servant cried a little in company over Dr Marjoribanks's vacant place. What could a man have more? Nobody was made altogether desolate by his death, nor was any heart broken, but they wept for him honestly, though the old woman felt happy in her sorrow. And Lucilla, on her knees before the fire, told Nancy of that exclamation the Doctor had made in John Brown's office, and how he had put his hand on her shoulder that last night. "All he said was, Poor Lucilla !" sobbed Miss Marjoribanks; "he never thought of himself nor all his money that he had worked so hard for;" and once more that touch of something more exquisite than was usual to her went sharply down into Lucilla's heart and brought up tenderer and deeper tears.
She felt all the better for it after, and was even a little cheerful in the evening, and like herself; and thus it will be seen that one person in Carlingford— not, it is true, a popular oracle, but of powerful influence and first-rate importance in a practical point of , view—gave the heartiest approbation to Miss Marjoribanks's scheme for her new life.
Lucilla's calculations were fully justified by the result. Twenty times in a day she recognised the wisdom of her own early decision, which was made while she was still by herself, and before anybody had come in to advise her. If she had left it over until the time when, though much shaken, she was understood to be able to see her friends, it is just possible that the whirlwind of popular opinion which raged about her might have exercised a distracting influence even upon Miss Marjoribanks's clear head and steady judgment. For even now, though they saw her in her own house, in her mourning, people would not believe that it was true, and that Lucilla actually intended to make "no change ;" and all that tide of good advice which had been flowing through Carlingford ever since the Doctor's death in the form of opinion, now rushed in upon her, notwithstanding that all the world knew that she had made up her mind. "Everybody says you are going to stay on, but we do hope it is not true, Lucilla," her friends said, in many voices. "It is dreadful for us to lose you, but you never could bear it, dear." And this was repeated so often that if Miss Marjoribanks had been weak-minded, she must have ended by believing not only that it was more than she was equal to, but more than she ought to be equal to —- which was a more touching argument still.
"You are excited now," Miss Brown said, who had a great deal of experience in family troubles; "one always is at such a time; but when things have settled down in their ordinary way, then you will find it is more than you can bear. I think it is always best to make a change. If you were to travel a little, you know"
"But, my dear, I am poor," said Lucilla.
"It doesn't require so much money when you know how to set about it," said her adviser; "and there are so many people who would be glad to have you, Lucilla! And then you might settle a little at Caen or Tours, or some of those nice places, where there is such capital English society, and everything so cheap; or, if you thought your health required it, at Pau or Nice, you know. You are looking quite pale, and I don't think you were ever very strong in the chest, Lucilla; and everything is so different on the Contin