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though I have never had those horrid bills long enough in my hands to make any very close calculation," said Maria; "but I don't see how she can help it. I am sure I should not like to go out with her if she were not well dressed, and she can't wear gauzes, and nets, and trumpery muslins, as we do."
Well, my dear, have you seen the ladies?" said he, in rather a faltering voice "Yes, sir, to be sure I have," she replied, looking greatly surprised at the question; "what do you suppose I have been about? Did I not tell you that I was going to them? And do I ever undertake a thing without doing it? What can you ask such an idle question for?"
No, but then she need not talk so much more of our things than she does of her "Why, it is an idle question, to be sure, own," replied Agatha. However, I am my dear, but the truth is, I did not like to not going to quarrel with mamma about the plague you by asking for particulars just bills, or the dresses either. Altogether, the moment you came in. But of course, she has contrived to get on exceedingly my dear, I am very anxious." well, and it does her 66 credit-nobody great Anxious, Mr. Roberts? What is it can be more aware of that than I am. But has made you anxious, sir? Nothing alarmnow that such a monstrous sum of money, ing has happened, I hope, since I left the in addition, is coming with this girl, and that every thing will of course go smooth and easy again, I shall be vexed if she grumble any more about what we have had from Amabel's, for I positively declare that we never have had any thing that was not absolutely necessary to our making a decent appearance."
"Oh dear no, nothing at all. I was thinking of what might have happened to you, my dear; I hope you have had nothing to vex you?"
"Vex me, sir, what should I have to vex me? I am not so easily vexed, Mr. Roberts, and I hope you will not be vexed either; or, at least, not unreasonably vexed, when I tell you that I found it absolutely impossible-."
The two young ladies then proceeded to discuss the various fears, and the various hopes, to which this important addition to their family circle naturally gave rise; both agreeing that after all, Edward was the person to whom it was likely to be most really interesting. For that the girl would fall in love with him, was as certain as that she had eyes in her head; and if he could make up his mind to marry her, it would "The best of it," she replied in astonmost certainly be a very advantageous con-ishment, that seemed to increase with every nexion for them all.
But all this, together with much more very interesting matter, concerning the rather peculiar manner in which a young chevalier and a middle-aged count had been "going on" for some time past, must be left to the imagination of the reader, while we follow Mrs. Roberts to the presence of her husband.
"Well, my dear," began that truly worthy gentleman, with a look of considerable anxiety, but without venturing to annoy his invaluable wife by any more special questionings.
Here Mr. Roberts groaned, but quite involuntarily, and he immediately endeavored to atone for it by saying, "I beg your pardon, my dear. Don't mind me, Sarah; don't think about me; it can't be helped, and we must make the best of it."
moment. "What can you mean, Mr. Roberts? I was simply going to mention to you that I found it impossible to avoid letting dear Bertha come rather early to-morrow, they were all so kindly eager and anxious that she should be with us at once. But I really never imagined that there was any very serious evil in having to hurry a little in getting a room ready for her."
"She is coming, then?" exclaimed the delighted Mr. Roberts, clasping his hands in a sort of thankful ecstacy.
Coming, sir?" returned his wife, "didn't you know she was coming?"
"Well, Mr. Roberts," she repeated in "I knew, my dear, that it was your exan accent so charmingly equable that it cellent plan, and most truly wise intention, was impossible for him to judge, with any to get her to come here if you possibly degree of certainty, whether she had suc- could. But how could I-how could any ceeded or not, and having said this, she man be perfectly sure in a business that re seated herself in the chair which she usu-quired so much skill to carry through-how ally occupied when she did him the honor could I be quite certain that you would of paying him a visit in the little room ap- have the astonishing cleverness to do it at propriated to his particular use and service. once?" said Mr. Roberts.
It was now Mrs. Roberts's turn to sigh, age to stow this poor girl. I shall make a which she did very profoundly. "I really point of being always particularly kind to should like to know, Mr. Roberts," she said, "how many years more you and I must continue to live together before you find out that whatever I say I will do, I perform? Did I not tell you, sir, that it was my purpose to inform Lady Moreton that I should not object to take charge of her niece for a few years? Did I not tell you this, Mr. Roberts?"
Yes, you did indeed, my dear; and no doubt of it, it was nothing but my folly that made me fear about it for a single moment afterwards," replied Mr. Roberts, looking the picture of penitence. "But who is there in the whole world but you, Sarah, that could be so very certain about Lady Moreton's consent, the very moment you mentioned the thing to her? Who but you could have known beforehand that it must succeed?"
Here Mrs. Roberts smiled; a little in pity and a little in pride.
My poor, dear, excellent Mr. Roberts!" she exclaimed, "don't fancy I am angry with you. I am not, I give you my word of honor, I am not the least atom angry or out of temper; but I do believe that you are the only man alive who, being told that I had no objection to taking Bertha Harrington, would feel any doubt about my having her. Now do just use your common sense for one moment, Mr. Roberts, and tell me how you suppose Lady Moreton must have felt the moment I made her understand that I should not object to adopting her niece into my family as an inmate and friend? How do you suppose she felt,
her. Edward's chance, you know, will be
Mrs. Roberts then left the room with a very stately step, and her husband continued looking after her as she went, as if he expected to see a train of glory left along her path.
"There never was such another woman as that!" said he, relieving his full bosom with a puffing sigh. "No, never!"
Mrs. Roberts, when first made aware that she really was going to have Miss Harrington as an inmate, cast some vague thoughts towards a light closet within her daughters' bedroom, as a possible lodgingroom for her during the short time they were to remain in Paris. But the utter impossibility of putting both a bed and a washing-stand in it, at one and the same time, at length decided her against it; and it then became evident, that the only feasible scheme for lodging her young guest in their apartments, would be the sending Edward to an hotel, and preparing for her the room he had occupied.
But although she was exceedingly desirous of setting about it at once, she could "Why, delighted, my dear. I have no by no means think of taking the liberty of question of it, none at all," replied her hus-entering her elegant Edward's domain withband; "she must have been delighted; and so she ought, Heaven knows, for she has now got an example to set before her niece, such as few people in this poor sinful earth of ours are often happy enough to get sight of unless they have the good fortune to live tolerably near to you, my dear?"
out announcing to him the necessity, and obtaining his permission. She therefore waited with all the patience she could muster, till he returned to the house, and then invited him to a tête-à-tête in her own room.
Up to this time, the heir of the Robertses had been kept in ignorance of all his parents' hopes and fears respecting the young lady who was so speedily to be adopted into the bosom of his family, and who was intended ultimately to enjoy the enviable pre
Mrs. Roberts now rose, and patting her husband's bald head as she passed him, said, "You are never deficient in sense, Roberts, when you give yourself a little time to think. But I must not stay gossip-eminence of being his wife. ing with you, my dear, though you are very agreeable sometimes, when you know what you are talking about. I must positively look about the rooms, and see where I can man
It would scarcely be doing justice to the character of Mrs. Roberts to say that she was afraid of any thing; but if her courage ever threatened to forsake her under any
circumstances, it was when she thought | say he is done up himself, and if that notion that any thing was likely to happen which is not got up to keep me in order, but is might by possibility vex, embarrass, irri- really truth and fact, I don't see what good tate, or in any way annoy her son. The I am to get by your bothering him about idea of seeing him look either cross or me- my dress, and the rest of it." lancholy, was more than she could bear, and the double possibility that he might dislike the arrangement if it did take place, or be disappointed if it did not, had prevented her having, as yet, named the subject to him. But now the hour and the man were both come, and she set about the necessary communication with her usual skill.
"Oh! here you are!" she exclaimed, as he entered the room, riding-whip in hand, and in the act of drawing on his snow-white riding gloves.
"Oh! my darling Edward! how I wish that you had a whole stud of Arabian horses at your command! I never, in the whole course of my life, saw a man look so perfectly elegant in a riding-dress as you do." "I really cannot say any thing about that, ma'am," replied the youth, walking up to her toilet-glass, and bending fondly over it to inspect the condition of his moustache, "I must leave that to you. But now you have hooked me for a talk, mother, I will just give you a hint that you must please to make the governor shovel out a little. And indeed, a little won't do; he must come down pretty handsomely, or I shall come to a stand-still, and that won't answer for you or the misses either, I promise you."
"You speak like an angel, my darling Edward, as you always do; but you will see, if you will listen to me, that I do not intend to sit down with my hands before me, while you are at a loss, my poor, dear boy, to find means of getting a decent coat." Her son stared, but waited in silence for what was to come next.
"I do not wonder at your looking surprised, my dear," she resumed, "for it is seldom that a woman can do any thing to help her family at a pinch; but if you have patience to listen to rather a long story, I think I shall make you understand that you need not cut your stick, as you call it, you dear, droll creature, just directly."
"Fire away, then, mother," said the youth, "pauvre Jacque must lead about my nag a little, that's all."
Mrs. Roberts then entered, somewhat more at length than is necessary for us to follow her, into the condition of the family exchequer, and then rather abruptly asked her son, if he had ever heard his sisters mention a Miss Bertha Harrington, who was staying with his great friend and admirer, Lady Moreton.
"No, not I, ma'am," returned the young man, yawning. "Oh! yes I have, though!" he added; correcting himself; "that's the girl that they said was as ugly as sin, and a great fortune."
"It is odd enough, my dear fellow," replied his mother, gazing at him with unequivocal delight, "that you should happen to say that to me just at this moment, be- "She is not as ugly as sin, Edward," recause what I want to say to you, has got a turned Mrs. Roberts, knitting her brows; good deal to do with it. You are not the" and it is extremely wrong and foolish in only one of the family who is hard up, my dear Edward-for your father is pretty well drawn dry, and I have got half-a-dozen of your bills in my desk, still unpaid, besides a horrible lot of my own.'
your sisters to say so. I am not at all sure that she may not turn out quite as handsome as they are themselves. But that is not the point that is of the most importance to us just now."
The young gentleman colored a good And then she went on to explain what deal as he listened to this, and then imme-the reader knows already, respecting the diately replied, "Then I must cut my stick situation and fortune of Miss Harrington; and be off, ma'am; so you may as well the immense advantage which the stipend give me some tin and your blessing at she paid would be to the Roberts family in once ; for upon my soul I can't stay here." their present situation, and the very extra"I am not at all surprised to hear you ordinary skill with which she had managed say so, Edward," returned the indulgent to obtain it. parent; "for it is quite impossible, as I am constantly telling your father, that any man can dress as you do, and look as you do, for nothing. It is no good to expect it." "But the old gentleman can't coin, ma'am," replied the considerate son. "You
Considering the thoughtless age and sprightly temperament of her son, Mrs. Roberts had every reason to be satisfied with the degree of attention with which he listened to her.
"If things are as bad as you say, mother,”
he replied, "you have certainly made a here. You won't mind it, my dear, will good hit. But it is a confounded bore, too, to have a great ugly girl in the house, by way of a boarder. Every body will see in a moment, you know, that we are as poor
"Mind it, ma'am ?-yes, to be sure I shall mind it-having to pack up all my things twice over-and I, with such quantities of things upon my hands to do, and "Fear nothing on that score, dearest," such lots of people to see. It will be a replied his mother, "I shall take care to most horrid bore, ma'am, I assure you." put every thing on a proper footing-and, "I was afraid you would say so, my for goodness sake, don't you let me ever dearest Edward, I was indeed, and therehear you call her boarder again. It is ex-fore I cannot be surprised at it. But what actly what I have been scolding your fath- can I do, my dear? If we refuse to take er for, Edward, and upon my word, it is her in at once, I am quite sure we shall more excusable in him than in you, be- lose her, and how will your bills be paid, cause you ought to know so much better Edward? There is not, as you will see what's what, than we can ever expect him to do, poor, dear man."
"But what the deuce is she, ma'am-if she is not a boarder?" demanded Mr. Edward.
"A WARD, my dear boy-your father's ward-that is what she must be called. And if we all remember, on all occasions, to give her this title, everybody else will give it to her also, and the dear girl herself will be sure to adopt the idea-which will be a great advantage, because it will at once put her on a proper footing with us all."
"And will her aunt, Lady Moreton, and her cousin with the big eyes, adopt the idea, too, mother?" demanded the inquisitive son again.
yourself, if you will look about, any hole or corner in which we can put her-and it would look too odd, you know, to turn your sisters out and keep you in the house, wouldn't it? I am sure if it were not for the look of it, they should march out in double quick time, if you wished it."
"Nonsense, ma'am; but you may tell them, if you please, that I expect they will pack up my things for me," he replied, putting on his hat before the glass, and preparing to escape; "and don't forget to mention that they are not to read a single line-no, not a single word, remember, of any notes they find. I wish the governor's newly-invented ward was in the sea." "Edward," said his mother, laying her "How like your mother you are, Ed-hand impressively on his arm, as he passed ward!" exclaimed Mrs. Roberts, with a her to go out, Edward, I don't wish to look of great tenderness. "You see every dictate to you, I never did, and I never thing with such astonishing quickness. No, will; but let me say one word to you as a my dear; most certainly Lady Moreton friend-never suffer your sisters to judge would not adopt the same idea, nor her for you respecting female beauty. Girls cousin, Lady Forton, either. You are are never fair judges of the beauty of each quite right; we should get into a very dis-other, that is one thing, my dear, that I agreeable scrape, perhaps, if we hazarded wish you to remember; and another is, that any thing of the kind, while we remain in Paris, and for that reason, as well as for some others, Edward, the best thing we can do will be to move off with as little delay as possible. It is perfectly clear that Madame de Soissonac means to cut us all, and this will make a great difference, I assure you. Such balls as hers, once every week, might be worth staying in Paris for, but I am sure the embassy isn't-the rudeness of the embassy people, considering the introduction we had, is perfectly disgusting. However, it is no use to talk of this now, especially as we have so many other things to think about; and in the first place, my dear Edward, I wanted to tell you that I hope you won't mind sleeping at an hotel for the few nights we shall stay
dear Bertha Harrington-I trust she will
The Lady Moreton and the Lady Forton were as punctual as heart could wish, in es corting Miss Bertha Harrington from their apartments in the Rue Rivoli, to those occupied by the Roberts family in the Rue Têtebout. The two elder ladies having
La, mamma! of course she won't drink wine of a morning-how can you think of such a thing?" said Agatha. "Let her come with Maria and me into her room. Her boxes are all there, and we will both of us help her to unpack them."
both of them business of considerable we do to put her in spirits a little? What importance to transact at various shops, do you say to a glass of wine, my dear?" did not leave their carriage, and the young girl, wrapped in her dark mourning weeds, mounted the stairs, and entered the sitting room of her strange hosts alone. Mr. Roberts was shut up in his own little room, reading his Galignani, and Mrs. Roberts and her two daughters were the only occupants of the saloon. Mrs. Roberts remained tranquil for a moment, with her eye fixed on the door to see if any one was about to follow the young lady, but perceiving that she was decidedly alone, she hastily rose, stepped rapidly across the floor, and a good deal to the young lady's astonishment, enclosed her in a most affectionate embrace.
No objection being made to the proposal, the two Miss Robertses each seized upon a passive arm, and led her away. Having reached the room appropriated to her use, they entered it all together, and Maria, dropping the arm she had taken, shut to the door, and bolted it.
Bertha shook her head, and gently but decisively applied herself to the fastenings thus secured, and removed them.
"Not now, dear young ladies, not now," she said, holding the door open, that they might pass through it, "I do not want any thing out of my trunks just at present; and as my head is aching very much, I am sure you will have the kindness to excuse my wishing to be alone."
Oh, just as you like, Miss Bertha!" replied Agatha, laughing; "only, you know, we shall never get on, if you shut yourself up in this way."
"I will be more sociable by and by," said Bertha, still steadily holding the door wide open in her hand.
"Come along, Agatha," said Maria, bouncing out of the room, "it is no good standing here, disputing about it."
"My darling child," she exclaimed, "how delighted I am to see you! I did so wish that my poor dear girls should be thrown in the way of a young English girl of nearly their own age. I do not wish them to form intimacies with French girls, and therefore they have no intimate young friends at all; but now, thanks to the amiable kindness of your dear aunt, they will feel this want no longer. I feel exceedingly flattered, my dear Bertha, and so I am sure we all do, at the friendly confidence which Lady Moreton has shown in trusting you to our care; but, in fact, I never would have accepted the trust, had it not been for the sake of getting a companion for my dear girls. Come here, loves," she continued, beckoning her two daughters, who Agatha appeared to be of the same opinwere engaged in looking out at the win-ion, and followed after, upon which the dow and watching the showy equipage of door was very quickly but very quietly Lady Moreton, as it drove down the street closed, and the bolt also was very quickly towards the boulevards, come here." but very quietly fastened also. The young ladies obeyed, and each of them in succession received the hand of Bertha, which Mrs. Roberts, in a very sentimental manner, deposited on their palms. The sable stranger stood in the midst of them, as if she knew that it was her destiny thus to find herself she knew not where, and she knew not why. But she made a faint attempt to smile at the intimate young friends who were thus presented to her, and took a great deal of pains to prevent their seeing the tears which were gathering in her eyes. But the effort was in vain, for they made their escape, and ran trickling down her colorless cheeks. Whereupon Mrs. Roberts again seized upon her, and kissed her rather vehemently upon her forehead, saying,
"Did you hear that?" said Maria, who heard the sound, notwithstanding its being so little obtrusive. "I'll tell you what, Agatha, I don't believe a word about her being so very young-she is too quiet by half-that girl likes to have her own way, and so you'll see; and I will tell you something else too-I shall not quarrel with her for being ugly, though I think her perfectly frightful, and I shall not quarrel with her for being cross, for I should snap my fingers at it; but I will not endure her giving herself any grand and great airs to me. Mamma may manage her as she likes, but I will not bear to be treated with pride."
"You are a fool, Maria," replied her elder sister. "She may be as proud as she likes for me, provided she does but pay
"This won't do, will it, girls? What can enough for it."