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“To lighten that burden shall be my care. From to-day, if you are prepared to leave this child with me so soon, you will be in receipt of an annuity of one hundred pounds per annum."
Mrs. Goldering strove to speak her thanks, but the words choked her, for strive as she would, she could not but feel that to be the price for which she was bartering her child.
“ And now," said Lady Trevor, more energetically than she had spoken yet, “let us discuss the terms of agreement upon both sides. The necessary papers are drawn up, and are awaiting our signatures and the filling in of names. My lawyer only awaits a message from me to be here at any moment.”
For a second Lady Trevor bowed her head over the fair little one at her knee, and her next sentences were uttered in topes tremulous from sympathy with the mother upon whose heart they fell.
“In all things this child is to be to us as another daughter ; therefore it is the wish of Sir William and myself that she should grow up knowing no other parents and calling her little companion sister. That this may be the better effected we break up our establishment directly the arrangements are completed, and go abroad to reside for some years. These are the only terms upon which Sir William will permit me to entertain the idea of taking an adopted child. He will have no distinction made between her and
She will share the same advantages of education while young; she will be introduced into society, when old enough, as our daughter, and will be left amply provided for, in the position to which she has been educated, at our death. Nothing but that death is to be permitted to annul the agreement you will be required to sign. That our determination may be the better carried out, for the child's sake, and that she may never be placed in the painful position she would be did she ever learn how much at variance are the social positions of her real and adopted parents, you are required to resign her entirely into our hands, never seeking for intercourse with her, indeed looking upon her as one dead, unless our death releases you from the compact. The conditions, I know, are hard, but, in justice to the child, we cannot make them less stringent. Do you agree to them?”
The gloved hands clasped each other convulsively. “I do, your ladyship.”
“Then I think the preliminaries are concluded; we can do no more until my lawyer arrives. I will despatch a messenger at
In the meantime, will you not take some refreshment ? ” This, however, Mrs. Goldering declined, assuring her ladyship that the sooner the transfer was now effected the better it would be for her, that she might return to Hartford and her duties, where her surest consolation would lie.
“You return to Hartford, then, this evening ?" “ I have a return ticket."
There was an awkward pause. Lady Trevor felt that no words of hers could convey consolation just now. Then her womanly instinct suggested a means whereby the time might be filled. Would
you like to see your child installed in the nursery, and also be introduced to her new sister ?”
To this proposal Hester Goldering gladly acceded, and the two women, with little Trottie held in guidance for the last time by her real mother, proceeded to a large upper room.
A respectable, middle-aged woman sat upon the hearth, holding a child upon her knee-a little, pale-faced girl, with large, luminous, blue eyes, that opened themselves to their fullest extent when they saw the stranger Trottie.
Trottie thrust her finger into her mouth, and returned the stare of the little stranger with interest. The mothers watched them with fluttering hearts. Trottie was the first to break the silence.
“ Likkle dirl not bid as me!”
True enough ; Lady Trevor's little girl was not nearly so well grown as Trottie, but then Trottie was in rosy health, and the other had refused all nourishment beyond what they compelled her to take, and was moping herself to death since she had lost her little sister. Doctors and parents were alike unable to rouse her, and the latter were in despair, fearing they should be left childless, until the physician whom they consulted in town recommended the course they were now pursuing.
The little one's cry was constantly for “mine sissie,” the sister who was drowned; the probability was that another child of her own age might supply the place of the sister she had lost.
Touched by the sight of the plaintive little face, Hester Goldering stooped and whispered to her child, “Go and kiss the little girl, Trottie.”
Trottie went to the side of the nurse, and lifted one of the little waxen white hands in her chubby one.
A smile and then a flush crossed the puny
face. "'Ma says me tiss oo," said Trottie, pursing up her rosy lips.
“So you shall, you darling," said nurse, furthering the meeting of the baby lips. “See, my lady, she's better already. Please God, she'll soon be running about and playing as a child should."
Nurse's words proved themselves a true prophecy. An hour later, when Lady Trevor and Mrs. Goldering returned to the nursery, after the agreement had been signed and sealed in the presence of Sir William Trevor and Mr. Fairfax, the lawyer,
they found the two children seated side by side upon the ground, surrounded with toys, the little sick girl's face as lively and eager as Trottie's own.
Lady Trevor turned to Hester Goldering with a smile of gratitude and joy.
“ I shall be your debtor for ever ; you have relieved the agony of pain and fear at my heart. May God bless you for the sacrifice you have made.”
At that instant, when Lady Trevor's grateful words thrilled through her bosom, the sacrifice seemed easier to Hester Goldering than it had done since the project was first named by Mr. Paston.
Lady Trevor pressed her hospitality upon the mother of little Trottie, but Hester Goldering felt that every moment she lingered would but add to her torture, and make the parting more difficult, so she would not defer it.
The magnitude of the ordeal imparted an unnatural calmness to her at the last moment. Perhaps what braced her nerves to a stronger endurance was Trottie's indifference. Already her baby companion, the plenitude of splendid toys, the large wide spaces of the nursery were paramount over all else in her mind, and even when the mother's lips were pressed in silent agony to her own, she struggled to be free.
“ Mamma's going away, and won't see Trottie again for a long time."
“ Tome back fess Tottie anoder day; Tottie onts to pay wiv likkle dirl.”
Downstairs Hester Goldering met Lady Treror again. With the freedom that had grown up between them within the last few hours, she asked her when they were going to leave England, and where they were going to.
Lady Trevor laid her hand upon the widow's arm.
“ I will write to you of our plans and movements for several years. Then, for your own sake as well as that of the child, let the correspondence die out. If she be sick unto death you shall be summoned. Let this compact remain a secret between us, and rely upon it I will respect it."
Hester Goldering knew that this was all she had any right to expect, and after thanking Lady Trevor she departed. So she returned to Hartford alone. Mr. Paston rejoiced at the success of her mission, and the pecuniary advantages that would accrue to her little family from it. By the one sacrifice they were all in a measure provided for; at least, with the result of the exertions all were able to make, there was no fear of want overtaking them.
Little Trottie's absence was, of course, noted and commented upon; and to silence busy tongues Mr. Paston and Mrs. Goldering
both spread abroad so much of the story as they thought fit should be made known, carefully abstaining from all mention of the name of the family into which she had been adopted.
So by little and little the pet name of little Martha Goldering became a thing of the past in Mrs. Goldering's family; no one mentioned it; only in the mother's heart its memory never faded. The little frocks and shoes, and nondescript garments, with the broken toys, so meagre in comparison with the splendid ones in Lady Trevor's nursery, were packed away in locked-up drawers, only looked at upon solitary occasions by the mother when her heart yearned for her darling's artless prattle. Sometimes it startled her to think that the baby Trottie was now only a baby in her own remembrance; that the child who had once borne that name was growing up to womanhood; that were she to meet her now she would not recognise the sometime round, rosy, laughing features.
Mrs. Goldering's presentiment was not fulfilled; she underwent the operation safely, and her health grew stronger after it than it had been for some years before. Sometimes she would question her own heart as to whether that sacrifice had been purposeless ; she could not think that, when she remembered the joy and relief it had conveyed to Lady Trevor ; and having made it prayerfully and in singleness of heart, she could not believe that God would permit evil to come out of it.
(To be continued.)
GLIMPSES THROUGH THE CLERESTORY;
OR, SIDE LIGHTS OF THE CHURCH.
BY TIMOTHY B. VANE, ESQ., LL.D. CHAPTER II.- Wherein is set forth the Order of Church Ministers as seen
from the Author's Window, and the Mutual Relations of this hierarchy. ECCLESIASTICAL historians (amongst whom I venture to consider myself one) have expended much research and ability in discussing the order of the ministry in the Church. To some it is a thing given clearly and distinctly by the Apostles themselves with definition of duty and mode of appointment. Others hold it to be a growth, fashioning itself according to the exigencies of the Church or the necessities of the world. Now it will not at all come within my province to enter upon such a discussion as that. I cannot see from my study window either apostolic times or very extensive Church practices. But I see Salem, that is, I used to see Salem, a good deal of it indeed; and it was very plain that there were certain persons connected with that ancient conventicle who had very much more to do with its affairs than the rest. They appeared oftener. I watched them congregating, talking, active ; I followed them with my eyes as they passed along the aisles, into this pew, and out of the other ; sometimes at the desk, sometimes in the pulpit, now appearing among the singers, and now among the children in the gallery. The greater proportion of the people came in quietly and took their seats, and bowed in prayer, joined in song, listened devoutly or otherwise, and then went out again, I suppose to their homes ; but they were mere ciphers, just parts of the congregation and nothing else. But those whom I more particularly observed were altogether different from this; they were found in certain places, and were doing certain things. Without them my beloved conventicle would have ceased to be. I should not have been surprised in their absence to find it vanish either into the heavens or into the earth; and I came at last to know that these were the ministers, the officers of the church.
My studies had acquainted me with bishops, priests, and deacons, or as some doctors preferred to call them, pastors and deacons. But I did not recognise a bishop through the windows. Perhaps I should not know exactly how to distinguish these great magnates of the Church. Priests there certainly were not, for there was no sacrifice except that which all the people offered, and so all came into the priestly office. Deacons there were, some of whom were my valued friends, and these it is true were amongst the busy ones whom I saw; but there were many beside these, as far as I could see, of great influence and importance; and so it became needful for me to enumerate more completely, and classify upon a very different principle the orders of ministers amongst my neighbours.
The reader knows the principle on which I proceed-outsidedness. And this was found on careful observation to be a very useful law by which to try and determine the ruling spirits of our chapel. There were those concerned chiefly with the outside, and those who had to do with the inside. But this alone I found was not sufficiently determinant, so I fixed at length upon watching the officials according to their frequency of appearance on the outside. Those of course who came out oftenest I saw most of, and concluded that these were the ministers who had most to do. Some I saw less frequently, others scarcely at all, evidently of little moment in the doings of the chapel people. There is accordingly subjoined the order of the ministers as they thus appeared from the outside.
In the first place there was a personage who frequently would be found coming out, and be deeply engaged in some external work.