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BY MRS. OLIPHANT.
fainter and fainter as the year passed on. And ELINOR had made a discovery in the moment of now, in the shock of what looked like a double her deepest calamity. There are fine sentimen treachery, his image in her mind was suddenly talists who consider it a painful thing to find out blurred and confused for ever; and as there was that you are beloved when you are incapable of no longer any possibility of hoping that it might responding to the feeling—and a woman of heart return to the gracious lines in which her imaginaand conscience must always be grieved to occasion tion had drawn it, it began to appear to Elinor suffering—but yet it is very doubtful whether that he had never existed at all, save in that such a revelation was ever made in a case where imagination, and never understood, never entered there existed no specially painful or revolting into her being at all. He and Mabel-Mabel, circumstances, without giving at least a passing her little sister, for whom she had been 80 gratification. It was a surprise to her, and yet thankful that the cares and pains of life were after the first moment it was no surprise. She to be spared her, whom she had torn herself from had been aware that there was a sympathy in the weeping, yet glad for the child's sake! Perhaps mind of Cousin Maurice which she had not found it was almost more bitter to think that Mabel in any one before. He divined what she would thus replaced her without a pang, without a do: he understood what she meant, as no one thought, and that everybody agreed “since all had ever done, not Philip even in the hey-day of was over” that Elinor would have “no feeling” their youthful attachment, when they seemed to on the subject—this was almost more terrible to have but one soul. Even then he had not under bear than the certainty that Philip's desertion of stood her, and had been perplexed and puzzled by her was final. They all thought it reasonable that much she did, had thought her romantic, high she should have "no feeling on the subject." flown, and fully intended to abate her enthusiasm, This universal abandonment by public opinion, and generally to tame her down, as soon as she or rather by the opinion of friends, of almost every should be his. Elinor, in the humility of her one who has made a great sacrifice, is one of the girlhood, had been willing to believe that Philip things most bitter to bear. Why should Elinor would mould her, that she would learn from him, have any feeling on the subject? She had given and grow into a different creature through his Philip up for the children. She must have liked influence. And so perhaps she might have done. the children best—she had taken her own way, She would no doubt have “lowered to his image and she must expect that others, too, would take day by day” had she become his wife at nineteen, theirs. So philosophers will understand that this and and entered a household which was ruled by that is inevitable, without being the less wounded motives more sober and practical, as he would by it; but Elinor was no philosopher, and the have said, than her own; but after the tremendous universal consent to set her aside the conviction crisis in her life, in which Philip had forsaken her that it could now be nothing to her what hapaltogether, Elinor's ideas, too, had suffered a pened, that she had taken her own way, and change. She had retained in her mind a vague naturally liked that best, overwhelmed her with expectation-rather a hope than an expectation, a pang beyond words. They had never underand yet scarcely warm enough for a hope—that stood her, then, from the first. She was to them some time his heart might turn to her, and he all an obstinate and self-willed enthusiast, bent on might perceive that the course she had adopted her own way. was the only one possible ; but that had grown But now she knew that there was one who
knew better. She had felt itinarticulately all along the children ready for their start the moment his - now she knew. He understood, let who would letter should be received.
letter should be received. Elinor plunged into misconceive her. It was all evident to him—the this work with an energy that was feverish. It anguish with which she had made up her mind to relieved her pain to cut up those breadths of long go to her father, the supreme anguish of the cloth—to shape, to sew, to contrire, to set all her shock, which made her resolution to go to her wits to work how to get so many little garments father feel like a heaven-sent alternative. He out of one piece. It required a great deal of nnderstood even that she had no thought of him- thought-happily, happy thought in so many self, and was scarcely wounded by it, feeling it cases—but sometimes, as in Elinor's, a styptic to most natural that the faithful soul should have no staunch some hidden wound. While she was thought of anything new, of any substitute or about this engrossing occupation, her little parlour consolation. This he had accepted from the full of little clothes and baskets of cut-out matebeginning, feeling that her heart was not one rial, and her needle and scissors in ceaseless likely to change-taking it for granted that the operation, Cousin Maurice would come and sit by love in his heart must be its own reward. That her, and report to her what he had done, the inlove was, above all things, a supreme approval of quiries he had made, his conclusions as to which her, of her conduct, her motives, everything she was the best ship, the kindest captain, the greatest did, and could bear personal loss so long as she comfort for the voyage. He never dissuaded her ; lost nothing of her ideal excellence in his eyes. and she, for her part, began to long for his comHe was not a love-sick or selfish boy, but a ing, to feel grateful to him for sitting by her, for serious man, who knew that there were many making all those inquiries, for putting everything things in the world more great than that passion in train. And the children were always delighted of Love, in whose name both men and women to see him arrive. They climbed upon his knees, perform all manner of treacheries, and think them- and on his shoulders, and all over him, making a selves fully justified. He had loved her involun- sort of ladder or gymnastic apparatus of his longtarily, and had made no show of it, and expected suffering person. When they ran out to their no response; but he had not been able to keep play in the garden after vigorous exercise of this out of his eyes that look, in which tender kind, he would take a book and ask leave to sympathy and compassion were lighted up by read to Elinor as she worked. The books he read something warmer — something which Elinor were chiefly those he had brought to her about understood, which had made her feel that sensa- America, about the wild life in the backwoods, tion of moral support which gives to the sufferer which was where her father had gone, and the nemore help and aid than anything else in the cessity on the part of emigrants to work with world.
their own hands, and how to be independent of All things seemed to return to their usual the hired service which was not to be obtained. calm in the little house, while Elinor waited for As he read, visions would come in before Elinor's her father's answer to the letter, in which she eyes of the homely rude house, the constant work told him everything, and that she was ready to which would banish all thought, of the children come to him, the sooner the better, with the three growing up untaught, indeed, but having from little boys and the baby, her destitute orphan their early years the habit of a larger, freer family, for whom she had sacrificed her own life. life; of the wide, silent horizons of an unknown Everything seemed to return to the peaceful order country, the separation from all reminders of what of the past, but this was little more than she had suffered in the past. Oh, if but the partsemblance, for already a hundred preparations ing were over, the new beginning made! She had begun for the change which Elinor looked heard, without hearing, the pages which Mr. forward to as a relief, and was restlessly eager Fitzmaurice read. Tears would come into her for, in order to escape from herself, and from eyes sometimes and blind her; and then she would the other preparations which she could not help
which she could not help turn her head and wipe those silent witnesses hearing of the arrangements for her sister's away. When the reading came to an end, she marriage. She, too, plunged at once, as Mabel would sometimes thank the reader with a smile was doing, into the bustle of a trousseau; but that went to his heart. “Oh, if we were but the trousseau of the little family setting out upon there,” she would say. a voyage was very different from all the pleasant “My dear, I wish you were not so willing to extravagance and commotion of the bride's outfit. leave us,” Mr. Fitzmaurice would reply. Elinor and Nurse began to labour at the little “Not willing to leave you, Cousin Maurice. garments which were necessary, without a day's No words can ever say what you have done for delay. It had been thought wise to wait for an the children and me." answer from Mr. Percival before setting out, that “ It is not a matter for words. I should like he might make all necessary arrangements on his to be missed a little." side for their reception; but it was not necessary
“You only,” said Elinor, "you only ”-perto postpone wbat had to be done at home to make mitting the tears to start which were so near the