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" Dear father, let me pass, pray do!” cried Julia, trembling with emotion, and oppressed with ingenuous modesty.
“ Stay where you are, girl,” cried Beresford, in a voice between laughing and crying.
“ Well, but how came you hither :” cried Mr. Hanmer, who began to think this was a premeditated scheme of Julia's to shew off before the company. " Why, Sir
, shall I tell the whole story?" asked the man. “ No, no, pray go away,” cried Julia, " and I'll come and speak to you."
“ By no means,” cried the baronet eagerly; "the story, the story, if you please.”
The man then began, and related Julia's meeting him and his family, her having relieved them, and then running away to avoid their thanks, and to prevent her being followed, as it seemed, and being known. That, resolved not to rest till they had learnt the name of their benefactress, they had described her person and her dress. “But, bless your honour,” interrupted the woman, " when we said what she had done for us, we had not to ask any more, for every one said it could be nobody but Miss Julia Beresford !"
Here Julia hid her face on her father's shoulder, and the company said not a word. The young ladies appeared conscience-struck; for it seemed that no one in the neighbourhood (and they were of it) could do a kind action but Miss Julia Beresford.
“ Well, my good man, go on,” cried Beresford, gently.
“ Well, Sir, yesterday I heard that if I went to live at a market town four miles off, I could get more work to do than I have in my own village, and employ for my little boy too; so we resolved to go and try our luck there; but we could not be easy to go away, without coming to thank and bless that good young lady; so hearing at her house that she was come hither, we made bold to follow her; your
ervants told us where to find her--ah, bless her !--thanks to her, I can afford to hire a cart for my poor sick wife and family !"
" And Miss, Miss,” cried the little boy, pulling Julia by the arm, “ only think, we shall ride in a cart, with a tall horse; and brother and I have got new shoes, only look !"
But Miss was crying, and did not like to look; however, she made an effort and looked up, but was forced to turn away her head again, overset by a God bless you !” heartily pronounced by the poor woman, and echoed by the wan.
“ This is quite a scene, I protest,” cried Miss Tracey.
“ But one in which we should all have been proud to have been actors, I trust," answered the baronet. « What say you, ladies and gentlemen?” continued he, coming forward, “though we cannot equal Miss Beresford's kindness, since she sought out poverty, and it comes to us, what say you, shall we make a purse for these good people, that they may not think there is only one kind being in the neighbourhood ?”
“ Agreed !" cried every one; and as Sir Frederic held the hat, the subscription from the ladies was a liberal one; but Mr. Beresford gave five guineas; then Mr. Hanmer desired the overjoyed family to go to bis house to get some refreshmeot, and the company reseated themselves.
But Mr. Beresford having quitted his seat in order to wipe his eyes unseen at the door, the baronet had taken the vacant place by Julia.
“ Now, ladies and gentlemen," cried Beresford,“ you shall see a new sight-a parent asking pardon of his child. Julia, my dear, I know I behaved very ill; I know I was very cross to you—very savage I know I was-you are a good girl-and always were, and ever will be, the pride of my life, so let us kiss and be friends;" and Julia, throwing herself into her father's arms, declared she should now be herself again.
“ What, more scenes !" cried Mr. Hanmer, “what, are you sentimental too, Beresford ? who should have thought it!”
“ Why, I'll tell you a story now,” replied he:-“That girl vexed and mortified me confoundedly, that she did; I wished her to be smart, to do honour to you and your daughter to-day, so I sent her twelve guineas to buy a very handsome velvet pelisse, which she took a fancy to, but which I thought too dear; but instead of that, here she comes in this old fright; and a fine dowdy figure she looks ! and when I reproached her, she said she had given the money away, and so I suppose it was that very money which she gave to these poor people. Heh! was it not so, Julia?"
“ It was,” replied Julia, “and I dared not then be so extravagant as to get the pelisse too.”
“ So, Hanmer,” continued Beresford, “you may sneer at me for being sentimental, if you please, but I am nowe prouder of my girl in her shabby cloak here, than if she were dressed out in silks and sattins."
“ And so you ought to be,” cried Sir Frederic," and Miss Beresford has converted this garment,” lifting up the end of the pelisse," into a robe of honour;" so saying, he gallantly pressed it to his lips. “Come, I will give you a toast," continued he:" Here is the health of the woman who was capable of sacrificing the gratification of her personal vanity to the claims of benevolence !"
The ladies put up their pretty lips, but drank the toast, and Beresford went to the door to wipe his eyes again, while Julia could not help owning to herself, that if she had had her moments of mortification, they were richly paid.
The collation was now resumed, and Julia partook of it with pleasure; her heart was at ease, her cheek recovered its bloom, and her eyes their lustre. Again the Miss Traceys sung, and with increased brilliancy of execution. " It was wonderful, they sung like professors !” every one said; and then again was Julia requested to sing.
“ I can sing now," replied she, “and I never refuse when I can do so. Now I have found my father's favour, I shall find my voice too;" and then, without any more preamble, she sung a plaintive and simple ballad, in a manner the most touching and unadorned.
No one applauded while she sung, for all seemed afraid to lose any particle of tones so sweet and so pathetic; but when she had ended, every one, except Sir Frederic, loudly commended her, and he was silent; but Julia saw that his eyes glistened, and she heard him sigh, and she was very glad ibat he said nothing.
Again the sisters sung, and Julia too, and then the party broke up; but Mrs. Tracey invited the same party to meet at her house in the evening, to a ball and supper, and they all agreed to wait on her.
As they returned to the house, Sir Frederic gave his arm to Julia, and Miss Tracey walked before them.
“That is a very fine, showy, elegant girl," observed Sir
“ She is indeed, and very handsome,” replied Julia, " and her singing is really wonderful.”
“ Just so," replied Sir Frederic, it is wonderful, but not pleasing: Her singing is like herself; she is a bravura song-showy and brilliant, but not touching—not interesting. Julia smiled at the illustration, and the baronet continued ; “ will you be angry at my' presumption, Miss Beresford, if I venture to add that you too resemble your sing