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not forsake me. I must remember that ; I shall see a way by
and by. I hope you will never know so much trouble as I
have; but I must go to my husband."

Those where the saddest words of all to me. There
was no love in them, only a despairing sense of duty. I
longed to ask her more particulars of what she had heard,
but I remembered Miss Milicent's warning, and I felt also
that it would be impertinent. Mrs. Weir was very kind in
giving me her confidence, but I had no right to ask for more
than she chose to tell.

*' I must go to my husband," I heard her repeat again to
herself, as I left the room, intending to see Miss Milioent,



URSULA. 105

and beg her to write to Mr. Richardson. This time the
words sounded less sad. They came to me more as a lesson
for myself. In her anxiety, her nervousness, and helpless-
ness, Mrs. Weir had seized upon the one point which came
before her as a duty. It was a landmark in her difficulties ;
and I knew that I must do the same. The weight pressed
more heavily on my heart when I thought of Roger and
Canada ; for I could see fresh claims starting up to keep me
at home. But there is a strength in duty ; it is like nothing
else. When troubles like quicksands are all around one, it
is the firm spot on which to tread, and there is nothing so
supporting to oneself as seeing others plant their feet upon
it and stand up boldly. Poor Mrs. Weir had done more for
me than I could ever do for her. I went back to her again
for a little while, but I was doubtful whether it was good for
her to have me much with her. Being with any one to whom
she could open her heart, excited her. She spoke freely of
the money difficulties, and said that she had foreseen them,
but it was evident to me that her husband had never been
open with her respecting them. About him she said very
little. Never indeed, during the, many years that I had
known her, had she ever spoken directly or indirectly of
the causes of complaint which she had against him. It was
a sacred grief, known only to God.

I left her about seven o'clock, more quiet, and with a
promise that she would try and sleep a little. Indeed, I
persuaded her to take a few drops of an opiate, and Cotton
being dressed by that time, I was satisfied that she would be
well looked after.



CHAPTER XV.

Roger's breakfast was ready at half-past seven ; he had
been out almost before daybreak. I don't think he had slept
well. I told him how I had been sent for by Mrs. Weir ;
and he seemed glad upon the whole, to think that she knew
the worst. And yet upon talking to him, I found that it was
not the worst. Now that the truth had reached Dene,
Roger felt himself more at liberty to speak out; and I

Vol. 1—5*



106 URSULA.

learned from him, that Mr. Weir was not only ruined, but
that he had gone away with a stain upon his character.
Strangely enough, that very business which he had made use
of to crush young Mr. Henderson, had been the cause of his
temptation and his fall. It had never been a very profitable
affair ; but it gave him an opening for speculation, and there-
fore he liked it. Lately he had taken a more active part in
the business. Large accounts passed through his hands,
and now the whole concern had fallen to pieces ; and the
accounts having been examined, Mr, Weir was accused of
fraud in the management. He was not at hand to answer
the charge — he had gone off, no one knew where. It was
generally supposed he had left England.

A most dismal story it was, with scarcely a ray of hope
or comfort, except that Roger believed a portion of Mrs.
Weir's money to have been so settled upon her that it could
not well be touched. The Dene estate was heavily mort-
gaged ; yet if it were sold, it was hoped that sufficient
would be left to give her and Miss Milicent enough to
live upon; and it had been suggested that perhaps also
her niece, Mrs. Temple, might come forward to assist, as she
had received much kindness from Mrs. Weir's family.

" But it will be a hard struggle, Ursie ! " added Roger,
when he had given me all these details. " Mrs. Weir has
been so little accustomed to rough it ; and I am afraid Miss
Milicent has no notion how to make both ends meet, and
will burn a ton of coals to save a rushlight."

" Penny wise and pound foolish ; " I said. " Yes, that
will be very like her. I hope they won't go far away from
here."

" That you may be able to look after them ; " he said
quickly. I made no answer.

" They may take a cottage at Compton," continued
Roger, a little maliciously ; " that wouldn't be far from Sand-
combe."

" I am not going to stay at Sandcombe ! " I exclaimed,
with some anger. " I had rather live on a crust of bread in
a garret, than be forced to be all day with Leah."

" We will wait and see how things turn out, Trot,"
replied Roger quietly. " It does not do to make rash vows,



• URSULA. 107

nor to set ourselves against what God may appoint." He
left the breakfast table, and went to the door.

" You must not go away so, Roger ! " I exclaimed, fol-
lowing him, " I can't bear it. Something must be settled,
one way or the other."

" When ? " he asked.

" Now, — at once. How can I go about my work all day,
not knowing what is going to happen to me, or where I may
be to-morrow."

" I thought that was what we were obliged to do always,"
he replied. " The settling which you wish for, Ursie, can't
be made in a minute. We must see what is going to be
done here, and then I must find out a good deal more about
Canada ; and when I have done that, I must look into Wil-
liam's affairs, and see if I can have the money conveniently.
Can't you put it into God's Hands, my little Trot, and
trust it ? "

His voice and manner brought back the feeling of rever-
ence and submission with which I had been accustomed to
listen to him from a child. I said it was very difficult, but
I would try. I only begged him to let me know the very
moment that anything certain was decided upon.

" My first claim always," he said, laying his broad hand
on my head. " You shall hear soon enough."

" And you won't set yourself against common sense, and
make up your mind in a hurry that I am not to go ? " I
said.

" Just the contrary. Trot. I was going to walk over to
Compton this morning, to look at Hobson's cottage for Wil-
liam, and I thought I would call in at the parsonage, and
have a talk with Mr. Richardson about it all."

" You will meet him," I said ; " he will be coming here
to see Mrs. Weir."'

" So much the better ; I shan't have to go out of my way.
Hobson's cottage is a good way off from the parsonage."

" Here is the boy coming back from Compton with a
message from Mr. Richardson ! " I said. " We had better
wait and hear what it is."

Roger went across to the house, and I began putting
away tlie breakfast things. I could not bear, that morning,
to stand stilL and think, even for a moment.



108 URSULA. •

Roger came back again very soon. " Mrs. Richardson
sends the answer," he said. " Her husband has to be at
Longside at ten o'clock, and after that he will come on and
see Mrs. Weir. In that case, Ursie, I had better go to
Longside directly, or I shall miss him ; for I can't wait for
him here. William made an appointment with me at
Hobson's."

" And you might take me with you," I replied ; " I have
some business with Mary Kemp, which I was going to do
this afternoon. We are to have cold meat for dinner, so it
won't signify when I go ; and Cook, at the house, will boil us
some potatoes."

" Make haste, then, child. I have been wasting more
time here now than I ought. But I shall like to have you
with me," was added, kindly.

I put my bonnet on directly, and went over to ask Cook
about the jDotatoes, and I thought too that I would inquire
about Mrs. Weir. Not that I meant to stay at home be-
cause of her, unless there was some very special reason.
Though Leah said I was treated as if I was a servant of the
family, I had always taken care to show my own inde-
pendence. Mrs. Weir herself had taught me that. She
said to me one day, when, by some accident, I had let out a
little of what I felt about Jessie Lee, and the way Leah
went on with her, " Ursula, our right will always be given
us sooner or later, if we choose to claim it in a proper man-
ner, and if we do not, we have no reason to quarrel with
others for that which is our own fault." I think she had
learned this from experience. If she had stood out more
against her daughter's tyrannising ways. Miss Milicent would
never have got the upper hand as she had done. Things
being as they were, Mrs. Weir felt she had no right to com-
plain. At any rate, I had profited by the lesson, and had
never given in to Miss Milicent, nor even to Mrs. Weir, as
I might have done otherwise. Having so many little fanci-
ful ways, Mrs. Weir might have taken up a great deal of my
time if I had. We were all the better friends for my inde-
pendence; I suspect there is no foundation for friendship
between persons of any rank, unless there is a feeling of re-
spect which prevents either party from taking liberties, or
being encroaching.



URSULA, 109

As it happened, my going or staying just then was a
matter of no consequence, for Mrs. Weir had fallen asleep,
and Cotton was with her ; so I left a message to tell her
when I thought I should be back, and then Roger and I set
off for Longside.

It was about three quarters of a mile from Dene, by a
tolerably direct road, — Sandy Lane as we called it, — which
began just after we passed the gate opening from the wide
pasture land immediately about Dene. That piece of land
which was neither field nor down, but only a kind of hilly
common on which cattle or sheep might feed, was one thing
which made Dene different from other places. It was like
the sea separating it from the rest of the world. The road
through it was private, and no one but ourselves seemed to
have any business with Sandy Lane ; whilst, standing upon
such high ground, we looked out, as it were, upon the
world.

Roger was not very talkative that morning ; he walked
on so fast that I could scarcely follow him ; at length he said
abruptly, " Have you thought at all, Ursie, of what you will
do in case we should make up our minds that it is right to
separate ? "

" No," I said, " I won't think. I can't make up my
mind, whatever others may."

" It would be better," he said, " and kinder to consider ;
and if you are so vehement against the notion, ten to one but
it will come to pass. John Hervey thinks you might be bet-
ter staying with Mrs. Weir, even if she could only afford to
keep you, than you would be at Sandcombe."

" I should be better living on the common by myself
than I should be at Sandcombe," I replied ; " Leah and I
could never help coming to a quarrel, and she does not want
me. There is Jessie always to be had."

" If you were there you might be a help and a friend to
Jessie," he said.

" Not I, Roger," and I stopped short, and spoke almost
angrily ; " Jane Shaw is in the way. What am I against
her ? "

" If the Shaws were only over the sea ! " he exclaimed,
vehemently. " They are a curse to the country."



110 URSULA.

The speech was so different from his usual gentle way of
judging people that I looked at him in surprise. " You
don't know the mischief they are up to, Ursie," he contin-
ued, " Pity forbid you should. John Shaw is a scamp, and
Jane — "

« Is what ? " I asked.

" A lady, according to her own notions," he answered,
laughing ; but there was something bitter and mocking in
his tone.

" That is she, I do believe," was my exclamation, as
I looked down the lane, and saw two people coming to-
wards us.

" You are as blind as a beetle, Trot. It is John Hervey
and Mary Kemp. I dare say they were going up to Dene
to see if they could do any good there. John Hervey is set
upon helping Mrs. Weir in some way. He has wonderful
thought for such a light-hearted fellow as he is,"

" Yes, he is very good-natured," I said, and I watched
him and Mary with a kindly feeling as they came towards
us, and thought what a pleasant couple they would make ;
though Mary was not what many men would have taken to.
She was plain, and had a frightened, shy, stammering way
with her, which it was difficult to get over.

" Well met," exclaimed John, when we were within hear-
ing of each other. " Mary and I were on our way to you.
Ursie, how did you get home last night ? Koger and you
didn't lose your way upon the down, I hope."

" We were not late, and there was a moon," I said,
shortly. I could not quite bear any allusion to last evening.
John must have seen my face alter, for his manner changed
directly. " We may spare ourselves the trouble of our walk,
Mary," he said, " if Roger and Ursie are come to tell us all
we want to know."

" I was going to inquire for Mrs. Weir," observed Mary,
timidly.

" And Ursie will tell us about her, no doubt," said John,
and he turned to walk back. " Were you going to Long*
side ? "

" Yes," said Roger, '< to see Mr. Richardson, if he is
there."



U E SU L A . Ill

" You will find him in full parley with the Farmer.
They have brought over Mr. Stewart, of Hatton, between
them, and we have been planning cottages for the last hour.
If Dene is to be sold I wish Mr. Stewart may buy it."

" Jane Shaw says that Captain Price, the young man
who was here some time ago with Mr. Weir, has his eye
upon it," said Mary, in a tone so low that she could scarcely
be heard.

" What can Jane Shaw know about the matter ? " I
asked quickly. " Captain Price is not likely to have told
her."

" Jane Shaw is going to be married to Captain Price,"
said Mary.

" What, Mary ? what ? " John Hervey actually caught
hold of her arm ; and Roger said more respectfully, " It
must be Hove talk, it can't be true."

" I don't know ; I am told that Jane says it," said
Mary. She seemed afraid to assert the fact more strongly,
even upon such authority, when the others doubted.

" I don't see why it shouldn't be," I said quickly ;
" they are much of a piece. Captain Price, as far as I ever
saw anything of him, is not any better for a gentleman than
Jane Shaw is for a farmer's daughter. I don't see why they
shouldn't make up together."

" Ursie, you are sharp," observed Roger.

John Hervey supported me. " Ursie is right," he said,
" in one way ; they are neither of them good in their station,
and so they might just as well be out of it. Captain Price
has little of a gentleman belonging to him, except it may be
his birth ; and as for Jane, it is diihcult to say what she is ;
certainly nothing that is a credit to any one who has to do
with her."

" Jane thinks that to marry a gentleman will make her a
lady," said Mary.

" Let her try 1 " exclaimed Mr. Hervey, laughing. Then
a moment afterwards he added, " What provokes me is, that
people can't see their own respectability, since they think so
much about it. Where is there a man in all the country
more respected than your father, Mary ? — and I may say
your father's daughter, too;" he added, looking at her and



112 URSULA.

smiling. " Where is there a family that has more influence ?
And yet where is there a truer, honester, sturdier old English
farmer than Farmer Kemp ? "

Mary looked thoroughly pleased, and said she did think
her father was respected.

"Isn't he ! " said Roger heartily. " If you were just to
hear what I hear said of him everywhere, — amongst high
and low, rich and poor, — you would feel it an honour to bear
his name."

" Perhaps I do feel it so ; " said Mary. She smiled
rather archly, and I thought she looked quite pretty.

I had it on my lips to say that it was more than any of
old Mr. Shaw's daughters could feel for him, but something
stopped me. No doubt I was inclined to be sharp, and
Roger often gave me a hint to keep a watch over my tongue.

" There is the old Farmer, out in the field by the hay-
rick ! " exclaimed Mr. Hervey, pointing to a rick in a field at
some little distance; " and I think, — yes, Roger, — that is Mr.
Richardson with him. If you want to catch him, you had
better be off, or you will miss him."

Roger took the hint. I think his heart was full, and he
longed to have all his troubles out with Mr. Richardson.
He strode forward like a giant, and was over the gate and
across the field before we had reached the house.



CHAPTER XVI.

LoNGSiDE was much larger than Sandcombe, — not so
much of a farm in appearance, — for the house was high and
square, and stood in a garden, and the farm-buildings and
the yard were at one side. The Shaws had lived there be-
fore they went to White Hill, and old Mr. Shaw had tried
to make it look as much like a regular country-house as he
could; and a good deal of money, I believe, had been spent
by him and the landlord in rcfacing it, and laying out the
garden. Farmer Kemp took it as it was, and let everything
stay, though it could not have been much to his taste. But
his notion, as I once heard him say, was, that if a house



URSULA. 113

did not make a gentleman, neither did it make a farmer.
Folks would soon see what he was, and what he wished to
be, and though other people had spent money in building up
follies, he saw no reason why he was to waste his in helping
to pull them down. He was more to be praised for that
piece of economy than for many other things which men
commended him for. It was a greater sacrifice to him to
bear with what looked like being grand and set up, than it
would be for most persons to bear with things that are mean.

But Farmer Kemp's wish was always to be, not to seem ;
his countenance showed that. Every line in it told of
truth. And a handsome face it was, too ! It struck me
that day particularly as we drew near, and he came to meet
us with his old-English greeting, putting all his heart into
the shake of the hand.

I3eing in the open aii' so much had tanned and reddened
his complexion, but there was a freshness about it still,
though he must have been upwards of sixty. His hair was
quite white, and thin, and long, which gave him the look of
even an older man than he was ; but his blue eyes were as
bright as ever, — as full of life and eagerness, — and his
mouth, though the smile was singularly good-natured, proved
that age had not yet weakened his spirit of determination.
Farmer Kemp was no waverer nor doubter. He knew what
he meant to do, and he did it ; and even when people quar-
relled with him they respected him.

" Why, Mary, lass, you are come back soon ! " he said,
after he had spoken his few kind words of welcome to me.
" I thought you were gone up to Dene to be useful."

'' Ursie doesn't tliink there is any way of being useful
just now, father," said Mary. " Mrs. Weir has heard every-
thing, and keeps up tolerably."

" You should have gone in though, child ; I would have
had you see Mrs. Mason. It will be hard times with Mrs.
Weir and Miss Milicent," he added, turning to me ; " they
are away from their own kith and kin, and they are not over
friendly with the gentry round, except it be with Mr.
Kichardson, who has a short purse, and a small house, and a
large family. If it came to the point, there might be more
real help for Mrs. Weir to be had from Longside than from
Comptou, only it might not suit her to see it."



114 URSULA.

" Mrs. Weir is not proud," I said ; " at least, I don't
think so."

" Poverty is the touchstone of pride, so I have heard
say," replied the Farmer ; " but come in, Ursie, and tell us
more about it. My Goodwoman and I have been talking
about you this morning, thinking what an upset there would
be for you from all this."

" It is pleasant to know that some persons can take
thought for one," I said ; and I felt my eyes fill with tears.
I don't know what there was in Farmer Kemp's manner
which made me always feel what a happiness it would be to
have an earthly father.

" So you are sad, child, are you ? " he answered. " Cheer
up; rain one day, sunshine the next. Come in, and we'll
have it all out. Why, there's Roger off with Mr. Richard-
son ! What is that for ? and we had not half settled our
business."

" Indeed ! " observed Mr. Hervey, "it was all but done
when Mary and I set off."

" I tell you what, man," said the Farmer, quickly, " it
wasn't begun. Give me money in hand, and bricks, and
mortar, and I will say something to you ; but we have not
bi'ought Mr. Stewart to that point yet."

" He promises," said John Hervey.

" Promises ! promises ! " Farmer Kemp repeated the
words slowly. " When you have lived as long as I have,
John, you will learn how to value promises, even those of
good men ; Mr. Stewart, of Hatton, being one, — at least, as
goodness is reckoned now. I have been treated with
promises for the last fifteen years ; and shall I tell you what
I think of them ? They are uncommonly like the straw a
day which the old woman's cow was fed upon till she died."

We all laughed ; but John Hervey said he had a better
opinion of Mr. Stewart than to think he was not going to
keep his word.

" Well ! yes, — well ! he will keep it in the letter, I grant
you. Whilst he has Mr. Richardson to back him, and me
knocking at his door, he can't well do otherwise. But he is
not a man to go of his own accord against what he considers
his interest. If he was, he wouldn't have let things come to



URSULA. 115

the pass they are. He would never have needed our eyes for
spectacles to help him to see that he can't make a poor, igno-
rant man a Christian by forcing him to live like a heathen.
Why, there are cottages on the Hatton estate which aren't
two degrees better than my pig-sty; and there is he, with his
five thousand a year, crying out about the expense of rebuild-
ing them, and threatening — what do you think now, John, he
threatens ? " and Farmer Kemp stopped as we were about to
enter the house, and drew John Hervey aside.

" We had better go in," said Mary to me, in her quiet
voice.

But I was curious, and something better than curious —
interested ; for I saw the working of John Hervey's face,
and I kuew that whatever Farmer Kent might be telling him
was giving him pain.

I wondered that Mary seemed to care so little for it.
She watched them for an instant, and then said, composedly :
" Mr. Stewart told father that if Hatton was such an expense
to him, he should sell it, and he knew a person willing to buy
it. And I can tell who that is," added Mary, with a little
more of life in her tone; " it's Captain Price."

" What ! he that is to marry Jane Shaw ? It can't be,"
I exclaimed. " Dene and Hatton ! He would be the lord
of the country."

" Father says it," was Mary's reply.

" And you don't care about it ? You aren't worried
about it ? " I exclaimed. " Mary, you are a wonder."

" It is not come yet, and it mayn't come at all," said
Mary. " When it does it will be time enough to fret."

That was very true; but somehow, the words did not
quite come home to me just then, and when I looked at
John Hervey again, I thought less of Captain Price, and the
chance of his buying Hatton, than of what John would do if
he took to himself such a quiet wife.

" You will stay now and rest, Ursie," said Mary, open-
ing the door for me. " Mother is in the kitchen, most likely,
but she will be glad to come into the parlour and see you."

Mary left me in the passage, for I knew how to find my
way to the parlour — a pleasant little three-sided room, having
cupboards all round the walls, and a cheerful-looking corner



116 URSULA.

fireplace. When Longside was built, it was intended for a
housekeeper's room.

Mary had much more taste than William's wife, and
though the room was not by any means as large, and not half
as well furnished, as the great parlour at Sandcombe, it was
much more comfortable. There were flower-pots in the win-
dow-seat, and flowers on the table, and over the mantelpiece ;
and Mary was not, like Leah, ashamed of homely work, and
so it was lying about ready to be taken up ; whilst some
books near it showed that there was leisure at Longside for
something besides mere drudgery. One of the books was a
Bible : I think Mrs. Kemp, and Mary, and her two little
sisters, generally read together the lesson for the day in the
New Testament, some time in the course of the morning.

Mrs. Kemp came in almost immediately. In her way
she was as clever and shrewd as her husband, and quite as
good; and as for her kind-heartedness, there was no end to
it. The Goodwoman, as Farmer Kemp always called her,
was never known to forget a friendly word or a friendly
thought for any one. She was always especially considerate


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