Page images
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]






IN WHICH THEY TALK IT OVER. 6 HALL I ring for lights, Ru- well pleased to owe everything to D pert?

mamma, as she will be to give . Just as you please, Gussie; I everything to us.' don't care.'

Rupert means, dear,' said the * Not lights yet; do let us be eldest sister, quietly, that, considerwithout them a little longer, Gussie,' ing how rich our dear father was, pleaded, rather imperiously, a third it would have been wiser to settle voice, a voice with some of the same something definitely upon the sons notes in it as had the voices of the at least, rather than to leave it all first two speakers; some of the to mamma, who has such a distaste same, and some that were younger, for business and exertion. And I clearer, more ringing.

agree with him in doubting the • Let us be without them a little wisdom of the act as cordially as I longer, and talk it over; we can do agree with you in admiring the so better in the dark.

spirit which dictated it.' A sob here choked her utterance, . But Rupert,' said Florence, earand she—for the speaker was a nestly, interrupting her speech with female-bent her head down upon sobs, 'everything will be just the her sister's lap, and cried in that same, you know. Mamma said so convulsive, passionate, violent man- to me when I would go in and speak ner that is so distressing while it to her. “Rupert's allowance shall lasts, and that generally lasts but be 'increased, if he remains away,” a short time.

she said, “and if he likes to live at 'My darling Floy; hush, dear. home altogether, he shall have the Do calm yourself.'

management of everything.” Will. The soothing tones and words you live at home, Rupert ? had their due effect. The sobs •No, Floy; I think not.' grew less frequent, less deep; and "Why won't you?' as they presently ceased altogether, 'I am no lawyer; consequently she exclaimed quite clearly, and the management of other people's almost brightly: 'What a proof of business is not in my line. But love and confidence papa has shown these are early days to talk of such to dear mamma, in leaving every things. Heavens! I can hardly thing to her! I felt so proud of realize that this day week my father them both when that clause was · sat here, alive and well.' read; didn't you, Gussie ?

And we were all so happy,' "My dear Floy,' said her brother- moaned Florence; ' and now it's all the 'Rupert' who was addressed in over for ever.' the first line-'I don't think you're "We think so now, Floy,' said fonder of them than I am, but I her sister, and for a long time we can't go with you heartily in being shall all feel very sad ; but time is enthusiastically pleased at our future healing, and we shall learn to think being so entirely in our mother's of our good, kind, dearly-loved father hands; at our being so powerless to with less poignant grief. I thought help ourselves.'

poor Gerald would have been here Rupert! you say this! you, for by this time, Rupert, didn't you? whom mamma would give her life! Poor Gerald! how he will feel it! In whose hands could our future, as Though I long to see him, I dread you call our getting on in the world, his coming.' be safer than in mamma's ? I Rupert bent down to look at his thought you would have been as watch by the firelight; and then

rising, sail, as he rang the bil, find int. They were perfect in 'The train arrives by half-pist sir; every line, if he came liv it, he'll be heres

This queenly hearl-for such it for it's seven now. Let dinner he was-rose on a massive swelling on the talle by half-past seven, trvit, from shoulders low and Thomas.'

broal, which sprang in turn from This last sentence was udressert a tiny rown waist. She was not to the scrrant who brougit in the asylph. She was one of those lamp.

women who, though delicately Diade", It Tas an argand lamp--one of never look of fairy-like proportious, those whose light falls almost as that is, thin; her shoulders were clearly and purely as mooucans, too wide for that, and her bust too instead of with the hot, coarse glare full. She had the way of doing of gas. And as, when he had placed everything gracefully--the art of it on the centre table, he proceeder being perfectly natural. to light the wax candles on the As she sat there with one hand mantelpiece, darkness fled, and the supporting her face, and the other three whose conversation we have smoothing the bright hair of been listening to, stood out in full Florence, her younger sister, her relief.

deep mourning garb making her Sitting in a negligently graceful look paler than usual, and the solattitude, in a low lounging chair, row at her heart softening the prouil on the left-hand side of the fire, was expression of her eye and lip, somea lauly over whose head some three thing in her appearance-or in conor four-and-twenty summers had nection with her-seemed to touch passed. The face which rested on her brother deeply, for bending down the slender white hand, as she sat and kissing her brow, he saidgazing stedfastly into the fire, was Dear Gussie, for your sake, even pale, clear, and dark. Her eyes more than the others, I bitterly were large and oval, and they had regret that my poor father should the same steel-blue reflection in have been taken just now.' them as might be observed in her “Nonsense, Rupert,' she replici, hair when the light fell upon it. looking up and attempting to smile, She wore the latter bander back in “it is on account of you and Gerali an apparently careless fashion-just that I disapprove of certain arrangeleaving her ears visible--and coiled ments my dear father deemed it right in a superbly massive roll at the to make. To Floy here and me they back of her head, where a small jet will make little difference, but I discomb contined it. Apparently care approve of men being dependent.' less, I say advisedly, for simple as Even on their own mothers? ol, the arrangement was, not one of the Gussie!' interruptel Florence. many who would have been glad to Even on their own mothers, copy Augusta Knightly, could ever responded Miss Kinightly, calmly.. succeed in bringing about the same. "Well, thank heaven, I have no result. On some statue that she such absurd notions to add to my had seen in one of the art-galleries bitterness at this bitter time,' réabroad, the hair had been disposed plied Florence, warmly; and once in this way; and she had gone home more there was silence in the room. and, with what looked like the wave The last speaker was a girl about of her arm, she had produced the twenty. By common consent, whetself-same effect, and liked it, and ever she made her appearance, continued it up to the present day. Florence Knightly was voted the She had the straight nose that ought beauty of the occasion. She was to belong to a downcast, modest taller and slighter than her sister, face; and yet, though hers was ge- with a very fair face, and long golden nerally borne aloft with a proud, hair and lashes, indeedl, rather light imperial air, the straight nose did than golden. The extraordinary not seem at all out of place on it. feature in her beauty was that these With the delicate, curved beauty lashes shaded eyes of the darkest of her mouth and chin, no one could brown. She had irregular features ; a little nose that had a decided in- he was fair, with strongly marked clination to turn up, and a mouth aquiline features, he bore a very that some people said would have strong resemblance to Augusta; but been pretty had it been a size or the brow, which in the woman was two smaller. Florence Knightly's face low, though broad, was in the man was more and better than beautiful ; remarkably high, and strikingly init was fascinating to an extraordinary tellectual. The long, drooping degree. It was like her manner- moustache partially concealed the like her way as they called it; it shape of his mouth, but still it was bewitchingly sympathetic. She could be seen that he had the short was always desperately in earnest in curved lip of his sister. He had what she said and did and thought; her quiet, self-assured manner too; at least she always gave the impres- and her polished clear tones, and sion of being so. She had the art her undoubted air of being thoroughof carrying her hearers with her bred. on most occasions, for she had the He was the head, nominally, of eloquence of the eye as well as of the house now; and in the midst of the lip. Augusta's tones were per- her deep, deep grief for her father, haps better defined than Florence's, his sister Augusta had thought, the tones more polished and the through the last few sad days, words more elegantly chosen; but thought with pride how worthy Floy had the voice that lived in he was to be the head of that or your heart the longest. She spoke any other house. He was so clever; impulsively, eagerly; and jumped not that she deemed there would be her words into spasmodic sentences. ever any call upon him to disStill it was a strain of purest melody; tinguish himself. She had only still you listened and longed for more thought of him in one light-as her of those notes, rich, soft, and clear father's heir; as his successor in as May dew. There was a difference, the borough he had represented so too, in the manner of these sisters, long; as the head of the house, the who had had the same instructors rich Rupert Knightly, Esq., M.P. and advantages, learnt the same for Warmingston. But on this day, lessons, and gone into the same on the evening of which I introduce society. Augusta had that calm them to the notice of the reader, repose, that perfect self-possession, on this sad day of their father's which is so eminently attractive. funeral, the will had been read; and Florence, from rarely doing any to everybody's surprise — everything like other people, was verybody's expressed surprise, which generally considered affected, and was worse-to the astonishment of by her young-lady friends, theatri- the widow herself, every fraction of cal. If she had not come of such the property, both landed and funded, a very unexceptionable race, there was left at the absolute disposal of are many who would have called the weak, irresolute Mrs. Knightly; Florence Knightly bad style,' and and Rupert was indeed the head of her warmest friends felt in their the house, but dependent on his innermost hearts, that if Floy had mother for his daily bread. The not quite so much action, it would heir of the rich Mr. Knightly-one perhaps be better.

of the wealthiest commoners in the Rupert Knightly, to whom I county — had no profession. He come at last, was worthy to be the had been brought up to play the brother of such very lovely sisters. part of a rich man, with large He was about eight-and-twenty; landed estates. He had chosen, for tall, and slight in figure; with the the most part, to reside in his own fair hair and face of his younger quarters in the Albany, and had sister, and the proud expression of been quite content to draw a splenhis elder; a reserved face, almost did allowance quarterly from his a stern one, and yet one to which father, without caring about anyyou would instinctively turn for thing being decidedly settled upon protection, if you were in any doubt, him. But now his father was dead, or difficulty, or danger. Though and things would be quite different;

VOL. 1.-NO. II.

« PreviousContinue »