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“And trust me, when to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and helpless creature shall be sacrificed, it is an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it has strayed, to make a fire to offer it up with.”
“I shall not have the house turned topsyturvy for that old Grunter," said Mrs. Lindsay to Ellen, who was quietly making some arrangements for the old usher's comfort; “your uncle, of course, is entitled to all we can do for him, though he has made such a fool of himself. But Grunter, a boasting, conceited, impertinent old oaf, .... He shall not have the study, Ellen, so it is of no
“ But he always says he cannot write in a room which has not the morning sun on it."
“If he never writes again, so much the better for himself and the public."
“Mamma,” said Ellen, and she clasped her hands, and her beautiful eyes filled with tears, “ do not make any difference in your manner to Mr. Grunter. Oh, pray do not! My poor uncle will feel it more than if it were to himself.”
“Oh, no, of course not, Miss Ellen. Of course it is to be expected that I shall play the toady for an indefinite time, too, to that odious old bear, to Miss Tibby and Screech, and those pursy, over-gorged, abominable dogs, suffer myself to be bitten by Screech, and knocked down by Capricorn. No, Ellen, when I'm knocked down, it must be to higher bidders than any of that set are likely to prove now."
“ Mamma, you are joking !”
“ Joking, girl! It's no joke to me to lose...."
“ Lose what, mamma ? the loss is all my uncle's.”
“ No, it is not. I lose what I have been
for years labouring to realize; I lose all my expectations, and, losing them, I cannot keep my temper. I'm out of all patience, when I think of it. Such a fortune! such a match as Julian was for Augusta ! and now..... I hope I shall be able to be civil to your uncle, but I feel as if I could beat him. I must go and have a good cry; and to think of his bringing all that gang of dependents ! I shall never be able to bear it, so do your best to get them quietly away, and you must see to everything, for I am quite upset by this dreadful and unexpected blow.”
Left to herself, Ellen, the best of housewives, made every arrangement for the comfort of her uncle and his guests. Without any bustle or parade, every thing was done; and Ellen gave up her own little boudoir, in which from childhood she had been accustomed to enjoy the morning sun shining through the honeysuckle-gave it up with its graceful comforts and maiden purity - no longer to be the shrine of a saint, but the den of a bear, the delicate carpet to be trodden by
Grunter's hage feet, the spotless furniture to be inked by the bangling blotting author, the
bole place to be deseerated! But then ber anele would feel a slight to Grunter, and Elen resigned her retreat with a sense almost of pleasure.
Augusta was in her dressing-room; for a few moments she was alone. Bad as people are, they would be worse still if they were never alone. Conscience would then bare no chance : the loud clamours of vanity and pride, and the opinion of others, would drown the still small roiee. Augusta, fresh from the worldly counsels of her rain mother, and the boundless admiration of her wealthy adorer Augusta, who had been positively flirting with Sir Peter, as she drove with him and her mother in his superb carriage through the sweet country; who had felt elated at the deep rere rential bows of all who passed them; who had conceived herself the mistress of that fine equipage, and of all thereunto belonging; who had thought of Julian and poverty almost with disgust, as some of the dim recol
lections of early childhood (embittered by penury) came back upon her memory – Augusta, now alone, wondered to feel Remorse, a new and dreadful guest, awake in her vain bosom. She wondered, when shutting out all around her, with her trembling hands clasped firmly over her eyes, that she saw, in fancy, the pale but beautiful features of Julian, the encouraged, the all but accepted lover, saw the tears fill the eyes that had so loved to look on her : she started up, afraid of her own now terrible struggles.
It was a bright and sunny afternoon; the air, as she leaned out of the window, (panting for breath) was sultry — she looked from her lattice. Was he who once took our Saviour to the mountain's top to tempt, was he, the invisible Spirit of Evil, at hand ? Her eyes, in wandering over the beautiful distance, saw the graceful turrets and many windows, (glowing in the sunshine) of the palace-like abode of Sir Peter Riskwell. Far and wide spread the undulating and velvet sod of the park; the patri