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The Second thus spoke:-"Amid fields deeply sloping,
Where osiers and reeds in abundance are seenWhere willows are meekly and pensively droopingWhere the turf wears its freshest and tenderest
“Where often, a low, rippling melody gushes
In liquid and silvery sound o'er the earWhere the wind softly sighs over thick beds of rushes,
There hope for my presence, for Water is near!"
“For me," said the Third, "you may seek for my
dwelling Alike in the court, in the mart, and the glen; I live amid mortals in virtue excelling,
Pure maidens, chaste matrons, and truth-loving men.
“Yet long may you trace me through village and city,
Unable your former companion to claim; Alas! those who prize me, will view you with pity, But shrink back surprised when you mention my
“The good and the wise in each circle and station,
Will tell you with sighs that your quest is in vain, And say— You confess you have lost Reputation,
Then seek not, expect not to find it again!'”
“ I SUPPOSE,” thought I, as we found ourselves ono fine day last summer the only occupants of a spacious carriage on the Great Western Line, and whirling along at the delicious speed of an “express train"“ I suppose we shall find things as unchanged at Fairy Lodge as if but a single day, instead of a twelvemonth, had elapsed since our last visit. Perhaps our kind and aged host and hostess may be a little more bent with the accumulation of years; and probably the iron-gray head of Watson, the butler, may now be more snowy. Certainly the old-fashioned damask furniture must be a leetle more faded; and perhaps this year the ivy reaches quite to my bed-room window.” My thoughts of change and progress-expressed half aloud-could go no further.
“You forget the likeliest change," said my companion with a smile: “the children must surely have grown.”
Now little Emily and Anne, the orphan grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Mowbray, brought to mind, by a natural association of ideas, their governess. But this was the last individual in the world one would connect with change and variety, notwithstanding the infinite variety of her acquirements and accomplishments. Poor thing! twenty years of garvitude,
beneath the withering influence of the most false position in which a gentlewoman can be placed, had wrought their work upon her. It is true that her present employers had too strong a sense of justice, and hearts too kind, to do other than treat Miss Newson with something more than the usual consideration in which, alas ! governesses are held; but it is not in the power of individuals to touch the root of the evil: this must be done by a change in public opinion, or I should rather say in general manners, which by rendering to the governess the liberty, respect, and homage which are her due, and approaching her guerdon somewhat more nearly to that of a favourite opera dancer, may make happy the position which must be honourable.
But I am endeavouring to relate an anecdote, not trying to moralize. I remembered that, with a regularity approaching that of clockwork, Miss Newson's duties had been fulfilled. At a certain hour she rose, at a certain hour she walked with her pupils, weather permitting (if not relaxed to battledore and shuttlecock with them in the great hall for exercise). There were certain hours for music, and certain days for painting; a certain time to remain in the drawing-room after dinner, and a certain time to retire to rest. That Miss Newson was a highly educated woman there could be no doubt, from the rapid progress her pupils made under her tuition; that she was amiable and kind to them there need be as little hesitation in declaring, since they were evidently warmly attached
to her; and yet I know not how it was, she was nearly as little noticed in the family as any of the old-fashioned furniture; like that, she seemed to belong to the house; and like that, her absence would have been felt more perceptibly than her presence was remarked. If a stranger addressed conversation pointedly to her, she became a little embarrassed, and a bright colour would mount to her pale cheek, and strike off a dozen years of her age at least. Yet the sort of nervous timidity she experienced was painful to witness; the sound of her own voice to half-a-dozen listeners—if really entrapped into conversation—was more than she could endure; and either her gloves, her netting, a book, or something, was sure to be wanted, giving her an excuse for escaping out of the room. It seemed really kinder to leave her alone, and suffer her to pursue the dull calm of her monotonous life, unbroken even by the kindling words of sympathy.
One thing, however, quite distressed me; and that was the want of respect, and sometimes indeed the marked neglect, with which the servants treated poor Miss Newson. To add to the many discomforts of a governess, she is very seldom popular with the servants; unless she is in mind and feelings quite unworthy her responsible position, she is almost always called “proud” by the domestics; simply because she finds, from experience, that not being protected by a sufficiently marked difference of station, the return of any kindly unbending on her part would probably be some unwarrantable liberty. Now at Fairy Lodge there were also some jealousies to contend with. The old nurse thought the governess had spirited away the children's affections from herself; and Mrs. Mowbray's own maid felt a just degree of indignation whenever Miss Newson was intrusted with the keys, or was solicited to write a note for Mrs. Mowbray, were it only one of invitation. I had always pitied the poor governess, notwithstanding her calm and placid manners, which were the farthest in the world from complaint; and I had often wondered if there existed an inner world of feeling in her heart, or if that quiet uncommunicative being could have told a history.
Thanks to steam, the wonder and blessing of this century, our journey was neither long nor fatiguing. We had but three miles to travel from the station; the Mowbrays' roomy carriage awaited us, and we arrived at Fairy Lodge, fifty miles from London, as little wearied as if we had taken but a morning drive. How I love the warm, make-yourself-at-home greeting of old friends, especially when the house is old too that is to say, old in one's acquaintance with it—when you know your way to your chamber without being told " to mind the three steps;" when you remember precisely where the morning sun will stream in, and have not to look about for the bell! Then the dogs -there cannot be a country house without dogs—are not quite sure at first that they know you. That fine fellow, Tartar, barks vociferously as we enter the gates; but he changes his mind after a moment, and struggles to break from his chain; and as soon as we