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Chapter 46 "Somethings turns up"

  • > Who knows what may happen? Patience and shuffle the cards? … Perhaps afte_ll, I shall some day go to Rome, and come back St. Peter.
  • >                                               LONGFELLOW.
  • THE rest of the winter, or rather the early part of the spring, passed happil_way. March, at Thirlwall, seemed more to belong to the former than th_atter. Then spring came in good earnest; April and May brought warm days an_ild flowers. Ellen refreshed herself and adorned the room with quantities o_hem; and as soon as might be she set about restoring the winter-ruine_arden. Mr. John was not fond of gardening; he provided her with all manner o_ools, ordered whatever work she wanted to be done for her, supplied her wit_ew plants, and seeds, and roots, and was always ready to give her his help i_ny operations or press of business that called for it. But for the most par_llen hoed, and raked, and transplanted, and sowed seeds, while he walked o_ead; often giving his counsel indeed, asked and unasked, and always coming i_etween her and any difficult or heavy job. The hours thus spent were to Elle_ours of unmixed delight. When he did not choose to go himself he sent Thoma_ith her, as the garden was some little distance down the mountain, away fro_he house and from every body; he never allowed her to go there alone.
  • As if to verify Mr. Van Brunt's remark, that "something is always happenin_ost years," about the middle of May there came letters that after al_etermined John's going abroad. The sudden death of two relatives, one afte_he other, had left the family estate to Mr. Humphreys; it required th_ersonal attendance either of himself or his son; he could not, therefore hi_on must, go. Once on the other side of the Atlantic, Mr. John thought it bes_is going should fulfil all the ends for which both Mr. Humphreys and Mr.
  • Marshman had desired it; this would occasion his stay to be prolonged to a_east a year, probably more. And he must set off without delay.
  • In the midst, not of his hurry, for Mr. John seldom was or seemed to be in _urry about any thing; but in the midst of his business, he took special car_f every thing that concerned or could possibly concern Ellen. He arrange_hat books she should read, what studies she should carry on; and directe_hat about these matters as well as about all others she should keep up _onstant communication with him by letter. He requested Mrs. Chauncey to se_hat she wanted nothing, and to act as her general guardian in all mino_hings, respecting which Mr. Humphreys could be expected to take no though_hatever. And what Ellen thanked him for most of all, he found time for al_is wonted rides, and she thought more than his wonted talks with her; endeavouring, as he well knew how, both to strengthen and cheer her mind i_iew of his long absence. The memory of those hours never went from her.
  • The family at Ventnor were exceeding desirous that she should make one of the_uring all the time John should be gone; they urged it with every possibl_rgument. Ellen said little, but he knew she did not wish it; and finall_ompounded the matter by arranging that she should stay at the parsonag_hrough the summer, and spend the winter at Ventnor, sharing all Elle_hauncey's advantages of every kind. Ellen was all the more pleased with thi_rrangement that Mr. George Marshman would be at home. The church John ha_een serving were becoming exceedingly attached to him and would by no mean_ear of giving him up; and Mr. George engaged, if possible, to supply hi_lace while he should be away. Ellen Chauncey was in ecstasies. And it wa_urther promised that the summer should not pass without as many visits o_oth sides as could well be brought about.
  • Ellen had the comfort, at the last, of hearing John say that she had behave_nexceptionably well where he knew it was difficult for her to behave well a_ll. That  _was_  a comfort, from him, whose notions of unexceptionabl_ehaviour she knew were remarkably high. But the parting, after all, was _readfully hard matter; though softened as much as it could be at the time an_endered very sweet to Ellen's memory by the tenderness, gentleness, an_indness, with which her brother without checking soothed her grief. He was t_o early in the morning; and he made Ellen take leave of him the night before; but he was in no hurry to send her away; and when at length he told her it wa_ery late, and she rose up to go, he went with her to the very door of he_oom and there bade her good-night.
  • How the next days passed Ellen hardly knew; they were unspeakably long.
  • Not a week after, one morning Nancy Vawse came into the kitchen, and asked i_er blunt fashion,
  • "Is Ellen Montgomery at home?"
  • "I believe Miss Ellen is in the parlour," said Margery dryly.
  • "I want to speak to her."
  • Margery silently went across the hall to the sitting-room.
  • "Miss Ellen, dear," she said softly, "here is that Nancy girl wanting to spea_ith you,–will you please to see her?"
  • Ellen eagerly desired Margery to let her in, by no means displeased to hav_ome interruption to the sorrowful thoughts she could not banish. She receive_ancy very kindly.
  • "Well, I declare, Ellen!" said that young lady, whose wandering eye was upo_very thing but Ellen herself,–"ain't you as fine as a fiddle? I guess yo_ever touch your fingers to a file now-a-days,–do you?"
  • "A file!" said Ellen.
  • "You ha'n't forgot what it means, I s'pose," said Nancy somewhat scornfully,–
  • "'cause if you think I'm a going to swallow that, you're mistaken. I've see_ou file off tables down yonder a few times, ha'n't I?"
  • "Oh, I remember now," said Ellen smiling;–"it is so long since I heard th_ord that I didn't know what you meant. Margery calls it a dishcloth, or _loorcloth, or something else."
  • "Well, you don't touch one now-a-days, do you?"
  • "No," said Ellen, "I have other things to do."
  • "Well, I guess you have. You've got enough of books now, for once, ha'n't you?
  • What a lot!–I say, Ellen, have you got to read all these?"
  • "I hope so, in time," said Ellen, smiling. "Why haven't you been to see m_efore?"
  • "Oh,–I don't know!"–said Nancy, whose roving eye looked a little as if sh_elt herself out of her sphere. "I didn't know as you would care to see m_ow."
  • "I am very sorry you should think so, Nancy; I would be as glad to see you a_ver. I have not forgotten all your old kindness to me when aunt Fortune wa_ick."
  • "You've forgotten all that went before that, I 'spose," said Nancy with a hal_augh. "You beat all! Most folks remember and forget just t'other way exactly.
  • But besides, I didn't know but I should catch myself in queer company."
  • "Well–I am all alone now," said Ellen, with a sigh.
  • "Yes, if you warn't I wouldn't be here, I can tell you. What do you think _ave come for to-day, Ellen?"
  • "For any thing but to see me?"
  • Nancy nodded very decisively.
  • "What?"
  • "Guess."
  • "How can I possibly guess? What have you got tucked up in your apron there?"
  • "Ah!–that's the very thing," said Nancy. "What  _have_  I got, sure enough?"
  • "Well, I can't tell through your apron," said Ellen smiling.
  • "And  _I_  can't tell either;–that's more, ain't it? Now listen, and I'll tel_ou where I got it, and then you may find out what it is, for I don't know.
  • Promise you won't tell any body."
  • "I don't like to promise that, Nancy."
  • "Why?"
  • "Because it might be something I ought to tell somebody about."
  • "But it ain't."
  • "If it isn't I won't tell. Can't you leave it so?"
  • "But what a plague! Here I have gone and done all this just for you, and no_ou must go and make a fuss. What hurt would it do you to promise?–it'_obody's business but yours and mine, and somebody else's that won't make an_alk about it I promise you."
  • "I won't speak of it, certainly, Nancy, unless I think I ought; can't yo_rust me?"
  • "I wouldn't give two straws for any body else's say so," said Nancy;–"but a_ou're as stiff as the mischief I s'pose I'll have to let it go. I'll trus_ou! Now listen. It don't look like any thing, does it?"
  • "Why no," said Ellen laughing; "you hold your apron so loose that I cannot se_ny thing."
  • "Well, now listen. You know I've been helping down at your aunt's,–did you?"
  • "No."
  • "Well, I have,–these six weeks. You never see any thing go on quieter tha_hey do, Ellen. I declare it's fun. Miss Fortune never was so good in he_ays. I don't mean she ain't as ugly as ever, you know, but she has to keep i_n. All I have to do if I think any thing is going wrong, I just let her thin_ am going to speak to  _him_  about it;–only I have to do it very cunning fo_ear she would guess what I am up to; and the next thing I know it's al_traight. He  _is_  about the coolest shaver," said Nancy, "I ever did see.
  • The way he walks through her notions once in a while–not very often, mind you, but when he takes a fancy,–it's fun to see! Oh, I can get along there first- rate now.  _You'd_  have a royal time, Ellen."
  • "Well, Nancy–your story?"
  • "Don't you be in a hurry! I am going to take my time. Well I've been ther_his six weeks; doing all sorts of things, you know; taking your place, Ellen; don't you wish you was back in it?–Well a couple of weeks since, Mrs. Van too_t into her head she would have up the wagon and go to Thirlwall to ge_erself some things; a queer start for her; but at any rate Van Brunt brough_p the wagon and in she got and off they went. Now  _she meant_ , you mus_now, that I should be fast in the cellar-kitchen all the while she was gone, and she thought she had given me enough to keep me busy there; but I was up t_er! I was as spry as a cricket, and flew round, and got things put up; an_hen I thought I'd have some fun. What do you think I did?–Mrs. Montgomery wa_uietly sitting in the chimney-corner and I had the whole house to myself. Ho_an Brunt looks out for her, Ellen; he won't let her be put out for any thin_r any body."
  • "I am glad of it," said Ellen, her face flushing and her eyes watering; "it i_ust like him. I love him for it."
  • "The other night she was mourning and lamenting at a great rate because sh_adn't you to read to her; and what do you think he does but goes and take_he book and sits down and reads to her himself. You should have seen Mrs.
  • Van's face!"
  • "What book?" said Ellen.
  • "What book?–why your book,–the Bible,–there ain't any other book in the house, as I know. What on earth are you crying for, Ellen?–He's fetched over hi_other's old Bible, and there it lays on a shelf in the cupboard; and he ha_t out every once in a while. Maybe he's coming round, Ellen. But do hold u_our head and listen to me! I can't talk to you while you lie with your hea_n the cushion like that. I ha'n't more than begun my story yet."
  • "Well, go on," said Ellen.
  • "You see, I ain't in any hurry," said Nancy,–"because as soon as I've finishe_ shall have to be off; and it's fun to talk to you. What do you think I did, when I had done up all my chores?–where do you think I found this, eh?
  • _you'd_  never guess."
  • "What is it?" said Ellen.
  • "No matter what it is;–I don't know;–where do you think I found it?"
  • "How can I tell? I don't know."
  • "You'll be angry with me when I tell you."
  • Ellen was silent.
  • "If it was any body else," said Nancy,–"I'd ha' seen 'em shot afore I'd ha'
  • done it, or told of it either; but you ain't like any body else. Look here!"
  • said she, tapping her apron gently with one finger and slowly marking off eac_ord,–"this–came out of–your–aunt's–box–in–the closet–up stairs–in–her room."
  • "Nancy!"
  • "Ay, Nancy! there it is. Now you look! 'Twon't alter it, Ellen; that's wher_t was, if you look till tea-time."
  • "But how came you there?"
  • " 'Cause I wanted to amuse myself, I tell you. Partly to please myself, an_artly because Mrs. Van would be so mad if she knew it."
  • "Oh, Nancy!"
  • "Well–I don't say it was right,–but any how I did it; you ha'n't heard what _ound yet."
  • "You had better put it right back again, Nancy, the first time you have _hance."
  • "Put it back again–I'll give it to you, and then  _you_  may put it bac_gain, if you have a mind. I should like to see you. Why you don't know what _ound."
  • "Well, what did you find?"
  • "The box was chuck full of all sorts of things, and I had a mind to see wha_as in it, so I pulled 'em out one after the other till I got to the bottom.
  • At the very bottom was some letters and papers, and there,–staring right in m_ace,–the first thing I see was, 'Miss Ellen Montgomery.'"
  • "Oh, Nancy!" screamed Ellen,–"a letter for me?"
  • "Hush!–and sit down, will you?–yes, a whole package of letters for you. Well, thought I, Mrs. Van has no right to that any how, and she ain't a going t_ake the care of it any more; so I just took it up and put it in the bosom o_y frock while I looked to see if there was any more for you, but ther_arn't. There it is!"–
  • And she tossed the package into Ellen's lap. Ellen's head swam.
  • "Well, good-by!" said Nancy rising;–"I may go now I suppose, and no thanks t_e."
  • "Yes I do–I do thank you very much, Nancy," cried Ellen, starting up an_aking her by the hand,–"I do thank you,–though it wasn't right;–but oh, ho_ould she! how could she!"
  • "Dear me!" said Nancy; "to ask that of Mrs. Van! she could do any thing.
  • _Why_  she did it, ain't so easy to tell."
  • Ellen, bewildered, scarcely knew, only  _felt_ , that Nancy had gone. Th_uter cover of her package, the seal of which was broken, contained thre_etters; two addressed to Ellen, in her father's hand, the third to anothe_erson. The seals of these had not been broken. The first that Ellen opene_he saw was all in the same hand with the direction; she threw it down an_agerly tried the other. And yes! there was indeed the beloved character o_hich she never thought to have seen another specimen. Ellen's heart swelle_ith many feelings; thankfulness, tenderness, joy, and sorrow, past an_resent;– _that_  letter was not thrown down, but grasped, while tears fel_uch too fast for eyes to do their work. It was long before she could get fa_n the letter. But when she had fairly begun it, she went on swiftly, an_lmost breathlessly, to the end.
  • > "MY DEAR, DEAR LITTLE ELLEN,
  • >
  • > "I am scarcely able–but I must write to you once more.  _Once_  more, daughter, for it is not permitted me to see your face again in this world. _ook to see it, my dear child, where it will be fairer than ever here i_eemed, even to me. I shall die in this hope and expectation. Ellen, remembe_t. Your last letters have greatly encouraged and rejoiced me. I am comforted, and can leave you quietly in that hand that has led me and I believe i_eading you. God bless you, my child!
  • >
  • > "Ellen, I have a mother living, and she wishes to receive you as her ow_hen I am gone. It is best you should know at once why I never spoke to you o_er. After your aunt Bessy married and went to New York, it displeased an_rieved my mother greatly that I too, who had always been her favourite child, should leave her for an American home. And when I persisted, in spite of al_hat entreaties and authority could urge, she said she forgave me fo_estroying all her prospects of happiness, but that after I should be marrie_nd gone she should consider me as lost to her entirely, and so I mus_onsider myself. She never wrote to me, and I never wrote to her after _eached America. She was dead to me. I do not say that I did not deserve it.
  • >
  • > "But I have written to her lately and she has written to me. She permits m_o die in the joy of being entirely forgiven, and in the further joy o_nowing that the only source of care I had left is done away. She will tak_ou to her heart, to the place I once filled, and I believe fill yet. Sh_ongs to have you, and to have you as entirely her own, in all respects; an_o this, in consideration of the wandering life your father leads, and wil_ead,–I am willing and he is willing to agree. It is arranged so. The ol_appy home of my childhood will be yours, my Ellen. It joys me to think of it.
  • Your father will write to your aunt and to you on the subject, and furnish yo_ith funds. It is our desire that you should take advantage of the very firs_pportunity of proper persons going to Scotland who will be willing to tak_harge of you. Your dear friends, Mr. and Miss Humphreys, will, I dare say, help you in this.
  • >
  • > "To them I could say much, if I had strength. But words are little. I_lessings and prayers from a full heart are worth any thing, they are th_icher. My love and gratitude to them cannot–"
  • The writer had failed here; and what there was of the letter had evidentl_een written at different times. Captain Montgomery's was to the same purpose.
  • He directed Ellen to embrace the first opportunity of suitable guardians, t_ross the Atlantic and repair to No. – Georges-street, Edinburgh; and tha_iss Fortune would give her the money she would need, which he had written t_er to do, and that the accompanying letter Ellen was to carry with her an_eliver to Mrs. Lindsay, her grandmother.
  • Ellen felt as if her head would split. She took up that letter, gazed at th_trange name and direction which had taken such new and startling interest fo_er, wondered over the thought of what she was ordered to do with it, marvelled what sort of fingers they were which would open it, or whether i_ould ever be opened;–and finally, in a perfect maze, unable to read, think, or even weep, she carried her package of letters into her own room, the roo_hat had been Alice's, laid herself on the bed, and them beside her; and fel_nto a deep sleep.
  • She woke up toward evening with the pressure of a mountain weight upon he_ind. Her thoughts and feelings were a maze still; and not Mr. Humphrey_imself could be more grave and abstracted than poor Ellen was that night. S_any points were to be settled,–so many questions answered to herself,–it wa_ good while before Ellen could disentangle them, and know what she did thin_nd feel, and what she would do.
  • She very soon found out her own mind upon one subject,–she would be exceedin_orry to be obliged to obey the directions in the letters. But must she obe_hem?
  • "I have promised Alice," thought Ellen;–"I have promised Mr. Humphreys–I can'_e adopted twice. And this Mrs. Lindsay,–my grandmother!–she cannot be nice o_he wouldn't have treated my mother so. She cannot be a nice person;–hard,–sh_ust be hard;–I never want to see her. My mother!–But then my mother love_er, and was very glad to have me go to her. Oh!–oh! how could she! how coul_hey do so!–when they didn't know how it might be with me, and what dea_riends they might make me leave! Oh, it was cruel!–But then they did  _not_now, that is the very thing,–they thought I would have nobody but aun_ortune, and so it's no wonder–Oh, what shall I do! What  _ought_  I to do?
  • These people in Scotland must have given me up by this time; it's–let m_ee–it's just about three years now,–a little less,–since these letters wer_ritten. I am older now, and circumstances are changed; I have a home and _ather and a brother; may I not judge for myself?–But my mother and my fathe_ave ordered me,–what shall I do!–If John were only here–but perhaps he woul_ake me go,–he might think it right. And to leave him,–and maybe never to se_im again!–and Mr. Humphreys! and how lonely he would be without me, I cannot!
  • I will not! Oh, what  _shall_  I do! What shall I do!"
  • Ellen's meditations gradually plunged her in despair; for she could not loo_t the event of being obliged to go, and she could not get rid of the feelin_hat perhaps it might come to that. She wept bitterly; it didn't mend th_atter. She thought painfully, fearfully, long; and was no nearer an end. Sh_ould not endure to submit the matter to Mr. Humphreys; she feared hi_ecision; and she feared also that he would give her the money Miss Fortun_ad failed to supply for the journey; how much it might be Ellen had no idea.
  • She could not dismiss the subject as decided by circumstances, for conscienc_ricked her with the fifth commandment. She was miserable. It happily occurre_o her at last to take counsel with Mrs. Vawse; this might be done she kne_ithout betraying Nancy; Mrs. Vawse was much too honourable to press her as t_ow she came by the letters, and her word could easily be obtained not t_peak of the affairs to any one. As for Miss Fortune's conduct, it must b_ade known; there was no help for that. So it was settled; and Ellen's breas_as a little lightened of its load of care for that time; she had leisure t_hink of some other things.
  • Why had Miss Fortune kept back the letters? Ellen guessed pretty well, but sh_id not know quite all. The package, with its accompanying despatch to Mis_ortune, had arrived shortly after Ellen first heard the news of her mother'_eath, when she was refuged with Alice at the parsonage. At the time of it_eing sent Captain Montgomery's movements were extremely uncertain; and i_bedience to the earnest request of his wife he directed that without waitin_or his own return Ellen should immediately set out for Scotland. Part of th_oney for her expenses he sent; the rest he desired his sister to furnish, promising to make all straight when he should come home. But it happened tha_e was already this lady's debtor in a small amount, which Miss Fortune ha_erious doubts of ever being repaid; she instantly determined that if she ha_nce been a fool in lending him money, she would not a second time in addin_o the sum; if he wanted to send his daughter on a wild-goose-chase afte_reat relations, he might come home himself and see to it; it was none of he_usiness. Quietly taking the remittance to refund his own owing, she of cours_hrew the letters into her box, as the delivery of them would expose the whol_ransaction. There they lay till Nancy found them.
  • Early next morning after breakfast Ellen came into the kitchen, and begge_argery to ask Thomas to bring the Brownie to the door. Surprised at th_nergy in her tone and manner, Margery gave the message and added that Mis_llen seemed to have picked up wonderfully; she hadn't heard her speak s_risk since Mr. John went away.
  • The Brownie was soon at the door, but not so soon as Ellen, who had dressed i_everish haste. The Brownie was not alone; there was old John saddled an_ridled, and Thomas Grimes in waiting.
  • "It's not necessary for you to take that trouble, Thomas," said Ellen;–"_on't mind going alone at all."
  • "I beg your pardon, Miss Ellen,–(Thomas touched his hat)–but Mr. John lef_articular orders that I was to go with Miss Ellen whenever it pleased her t_ide; never failing."
  • "Did he!" said Ellen;–"but is it convenient for you now, Thomas? I want to g_s far as Mrs. Vawse's."
  • "It's always convenient, Miss Ellen,–always; Miss Ellen need not think of tha_t all, I am always ready."
  • Ellen mounted upon the Brownie, sighing for the want of the hand that used t_ift her to the saddle; and spurred by this recollection set off at a roun_ace.
  • Soon she was at Mrs. Vawse's; and soon finding her alone, Ellen had spread ou_ll her difficulties before her and given her the letters to read. Mrs. Vaws_eadily promised to speak on the subject to no one without Ellen's leave; he_uspicions fell upon Mr. Van Brunt, not her grand-daughter. She heard all th_tory, and read the letters before making any remark.
  • "Now, dear Mrs. Vawse," said Ellen anxiously, when the last one was folded u_nd laid on the table,–"what do you think?"
  • "I think, my child, you must go," said the old lady steadily.
  • Ellen looked keenly, as if to find some other answer in her face; her ow_hanging more and more for a minute, till she sunk it in her hands.
  • "Cela vous donne beaucoup de chagrin,–je le vois bien," said the old lad_enderly. (Their conversations were always in Mrs. Vawse's tongue.)
  • "But," said Ellen presently, lifting her head again, (there were no tears)–"_annot go without money."
  • "That can be obtained without any difficulty."
  • "From whom? I cannot ask aunt Fortune for it, Mrs. Vawse; I could not do it!"
  • "There is no difficulty about the money. Show your letters to Mr. Humphreys."
  • "Oh, I cannot!" said Ellen, covering her face again.
  • "Will you let me do it? I will speak to him if you permit me."
  • "But what use?  _He_  ought not to give me the money, Mrs. Vawse? It would no_e right; and to show him the letters would be like asking him for it. Oh, _an't bear to do that!"
  • "He would give it you, Ellen, with the greatest pleasure."
  • "Oh, no, Mrs. Vawse," said Ellen, bursting into tears,–"he would never b_leased to send me away from him! I know–I know–he would miss me. Oh, wha_hall I do?"
  • "Not  _that_ , my dear Ellen," said the old lady, coming to her and gentl_troking her head with both hands. "You must do what is  _right_ , and yo_now it cannot be but that will be the best and happiest for you in the end."
  • "Oh, I wish–I wish," exclaimed Ellen from the bottom of her heart, "thos_etters had never been found!"
  • "Nay, Ellen,  _that_  is not right."
  • "But I promised Alice, Mrs. Vawse; ought I go away and leave him? Oh, Mrs.
  • Vawse, it is very hard!  _Ought_  I?"
  • 'Your father and your mother have said it, my child."
  • "But they never would have said it if they had known?"
  • "But they did not know, Ellen; and here it is."
  • Ellen wept violently, regardless of the caresses and soothing words which he_ld friend lavished upon her.
  • "There is one thing!" said she at last, raising her head,–"I don't know of an_ody going to Scotland, and I am not likely to; and if I only do not befor_utumn,–that is not a good time to go, and then comes winter."
  • "My dear Ellen!" said Mrs. Vawse sorrowfully, "I must drive you from your las_ope. Don't you know that Mrs. Gillespie is going abroad with all he_amily?–next month I think."
  • Ellen grew pale for a minute, and sat holding bitter counsel with her ow_eart. Mrs. Vawse hardly knew what to say next.
  • "You need not feel uneasy about your journeying expenses," she remarked afte_ pause;–"you can easily repay them, if you wish, when you reach your friend_n Scotland."
  • Ellen did not hear her. She looked up with an odd expression of determinatio_n her face, determination taking its stand upon difficulties.
  • "I shan't stay there, Mrs. Vawse, if I go!–I shall go, I suppose, if I must; but do you think any thing will keep me there? Never!"
  • "You will stay for the same reason that you go for, Ellen; to do your duty."
  • "Yes, till I am old enough to choose for myself, Mrs. Vawse, and then I shal_ome back; if they will let me."
  • "Whom do you mean by 'they'?"
  • "Mr. Humphreys and Mr. John."
  • "My dear Ellen," said the old lady kindly, "be satisfied with doing your dut_ow; leave the future. While you follow him, God will be your friend; is no_hat enough? and all things shall work for your good. You do not know what yo_ill wish when the time comes you speak of. You do not know what new friend_ou may find to love."
  • Ellen had in her own heart the warrant for what she had said and what she sa_y her smile Mrs. Vawse doubted; but she disdained to assert what she coul_ring nothing to prove. She took a sorrowful leave of her old friend an_eturned home.
  • After dinner, when Mr. Humphreys was about going back to his study, Elle_imidly stopped him and gave him her letters, and asked him to look at the_ome time when he had leisure. She told him also where they were found and ho_ong they had lain there, and that Mrs. Vawse had said she ought to show the_o him.
  • She guessed he would read them at once,–and she waited with a beating heart.
  • In a little while she heard his step coming back along the hall. He came an_at down by her on the sofa and took her hand.
  • "What is your wish in this matter, my child?" he said gravely and cheerfully.
  • Ellen's look answered that.
  • "I will do whatever you say I must, sir," she said faintly.
  • "I dare not ask myself what  _I_  would wish, Ellen; the matter is taken ou_f our hands. You must do your parents' will, my child. I will try to hop_hat you will gain more than I lose. As the Lord pleases! If I am bereaved o_y children, I am bereaved."
  • "Mrs. Gillespie," he said after a pause, "is about going to England;–I kno_ot how soon. It will be best for you to see her at once and make al_rrangements that may be necessary. I will go with you tomorrow to Ventnor i_he day be a good one."
  • There was something Ellen longed to say, but it was impossible to get it out; she could not utter a word. She had pressed her hands upon her face to try t_eep herself quiet; but Mr. Humphreys could see the deep crimson flushing t_he very roots of her hair. He drew her close within his arms for a moment, kissed her forehead, Ellen  _felt_  it was sadly, and went away. It was wel_he did not hear him sigh as he went back along the hall; it was well she di_ot see the face of more settled gravity with which he sat down to hi_riting; she had enough of her own.
  • They went to Ventnor. Mrs. Gillespie with great pleasure undertook the charg_f her and promised to deliver her safely to her friends in Scotland. It wa_rranged that she should go back to Thirlwall to make her adieus; and that i_ week or two a carriage should be sent to bring her to Ventnor, where he_reparations for the journey should be made, and whence the whole party woul_et off.
  • "So you are going to be a Scotchwoman after all, Ellen," said Miss Sophia.
  • "I had a great deal rather be an American, Miss Sophia."
  • "Why Hutchinson will tell you," said the young lady, "that it is infinitel_ore desirable to be a Scotchwoman than that."
  • Ellen's face, however, looked so little inclined to be merry that she took u_he subject in another tone.
  • "Seriously, do you know," said she, "I have been thinking it is a very happ_hing for you. I don't know what would become of you alone in that grea_arsonage house. You would mope yourself to death in a little while; especially now that Mr. John is gone."
  • "He will be back," said Ellen.
  • "Yes but what if he is? he can't stay at Thirlwall, child. He can't liv_hirty miles from his church you know. Did you think he would? They think al_he world of him already. I expect they'll barely put up with Mr. George whil_e is gone;–they will want Mr. John all to themselves when he comes back, yo_ay rely on that. What  _are_  you thinking of, child?"
  • For Ellen's eyes were sparkling with two or three thoughts which Miss Sophi_ould not read.
  • "I should like to know what you are smiling at," she said with some curiosity.
  • But the smile was almost immediately quenched in tears. Notwithstanding Mis_ophia's discouraging talk, Ellen privately agreed with Ellen Chauncey tha_he Brownie should be sent to her to keep and use as her own,  _till hi_istress should come back;_  both children being entirely of opinion that th_rrangement was a most unexceptionable one.
  • It was not forgotten that the lapse of three years since the date of th_etters left some uncertainty as to the present state of affairs among Ellen'_riends in Scotland; but this doubt was not thought sufficient to justify he_etting pass so excellent an opportunity of making the journey. Especially a_aptain Montgomery's letter spoke of an  _uncle_ , to whom equally with he_randmother, Ellen was to be consigned. In case circumstances would permit it, Mrs. Gillespie engaged to keep Ellen with her, and bring her home to Americ_hen she herself should return.
  • And in little more than a month they were gone; adieus and preparations an_ll were over. Ellen's parting with Mrs. Vawse was very tender and ver_ad;–with Mr. Van Brunt, extremely and gratefully affectionate, on bot_ides;–with her aunt, constrained and brief;–with Margery, very sorrowfu_ndeed. But Ellen's longest and most lingering adieu was to Captain Parry, th_ld grey cat. For one whole evening she sat with him in her arms; and ove_oor pussy were shed the tears that fell for many better loved and bette_eserving personages, as well as those not a few that were wept for him. Sinc_lice's death Parry had transferred his entire confidence and esteem to Ellen; whether from feeling a want, or because love and tenderness had taught her th_ouch and the tone that were fitted to win his regard. Only John shared it.
  • Ellen was his chief favourite and almost constant companion. And bittere_ears Ellen shed at no time than that evening before she went away, over th_ld cat. She could not distress kitty with her distress, nor weary him wit_he calls upon his sympathy, though indeed it is true that he sundry time_oked his nose up wonderingly and caressingly in her face. She had n_emonstrance or interruption to fear; and taking pussy as the emblem an_epresentative of the whole household, Ellen wept them all over him; with _enderness and a bitterness that were somehow intensified by the sight of th_rey coat, and white paws, and kindly face, of her unconscious old brut_riend.
  • The old people at Carra-carra were taken leave of; the Brownie too, with grea_ifficulty. And Nancy.
  • "I am real sorry you are going, Ellen," said she;–"you're the only soul i_own I care about. I wish I'd thrown them letters in the fire after all! Who'_a' thought it!"
  • Ellen could not help in her heart echoing the wish.
  • "I'm real sorry, Ellen," she repeated. "Ain't there something I can do for yo_hen you are gone?"
  • "Oh, yes, dear Nancy," said Ellen, weeping,–"if you would only take care o_our dear grandmother. She is left alone now. If you would only take care o_er, and read your Bible, and be good, Nancy,–oh, Nancy, Nancy! do, do!"
  • They kissed each other, and Nancy went away fairly crying.
  • Mrs. Marshman's own woman, a steady excellent person, had come in the carriag_or Ellen. And the next morning early after breakfast, when every thing els_as ready, she went into Mr. Humphrey's study to bid the last dreaded good-by.
  • She thought her obedience was costing her dear.
  • It was nearly a silent parting. He held her a long time in his arms; and ther_llen bitterly thought her place ought to be. "What have I to do to seek ne_elations?" she said to herself. But she was speechless; till gently relaxin_is hold he tenderly smoothed back her disordered hair, and kissing her, sai_ very few grave words of blessing and counsel. Ellen gathered all he_trength together then, for she had something that  _must_  be spoken.
  • "Sir," said she, falling on her knees before him and looking up in hi_ace,–"this don't alter–you do not take back what you said, do you?"
  • "What that I said, my child?"
  • "That," said Ellen, hiding her face in her hands on his knee, and scarce abl_o speak with great effort,–"that which you said when I first came–that whic_ou said about–"
  • "About what, my dear child?"
  • "My going away don't change any thing, does it, sir? Mayn't I come back, i_ver I can?"
  • He raised her up and drew her close to his bosom again.
  • "My dear little daughter," said he, "you cannot be so glad to come back as m_rms and my heart will be to receive you. I scarce dare hope to see that day, but all in this house is yours, dear Ellen, as well when in Scotland as here.
  • I take back nothing, my daughter. Nothing is changed."
  • A word or two more of affection and blessing, which Ellen was utterly unabl_o answer in any way,–and she went to the carriage; with one drop of cordia_n her heart, that she fed upon a long while. "He called me his daughter!–h_ever said that before since Alice died! Oh, so I will be as long as I live, if I find fifty new relations. But what good will a daughter three thousan_iles off do him!"