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" Really, Jessie," I replied, " I can't stand here all night
in this senseless way ; if you really don't choose to explain,
I must needs leave you and go down to supper."

Jessie was very much inclined to cry, but when she saw
that, instead of attending to her, I was going towards the
door, she pulled me back; "Miss Shaw and Captain Price
were in the shop," she said, and the two oflBcers were their
friends, and I only talked and laughed a little. Miss Shaw
talked a great deal the loudest."

" The old complaint ! " I said, rather shortly. " Jane
Shaw will make herself noticed wherever she goes, and if you
will go about with her, Jessie, you must expect the same.
Was that all Eoger had to say ? "

" He told me that Mrs. Deer, the stationer's wife, had
talked to him about it, and said that if I didn't take care I
should get myself a bad name. But Mrs. Deer is envious of
Jane Shaw, that I know. Jane told me so herself Hetty
Deer vfas at the race ball, and Captain Price danced with
her, and so Mrs. Deer thought there was a chance for her,
and now she is disappointed."

" That may or mayn't be, Jessie," I replied. " One
thing is quite clear, that Eoger has heard your name men-
tioned in a way he doesn't like, and being an old friend, he
did quite right to tell you of it, and if you will take my
advice, you will give heed to the warning, and not go into
Hove again with Jane Shaw, or any of her set. You know,
Jessie, because you are left so much to j'ourself, there is the
more reason for you to be careful."

Jessie's little fit of temper was over when she had given
it vent. She still held my gown and said, "Don't go, I'rsic ;
I am very unhappy, and Mr. Roger thinks so ill of mc."

" No, indeed ! " I exclaimed. " It is not in Roger's way
to think ill of any person, much less of one he has known
like you, Jessie, from a baby. But no doubt he is very par-
ticular as to the ways of those he is interested in, and that



198 U K S U L A.

may make him speak out more strongly than seems quite
kind."

"I do mean to be careful," sobbed Jessie; "you know,
Ursie, I never go on in that fashion when I am with you ;
and I want to be steady, indeed I do ; and I only went to
Hove with Miss Shaw because she begged so hard, and I
thought it was the only chance I might have of seeing about
a dress for the wedding."

" If you girls don't come down to supper, there will be
none for you," cried out William from the passage below.
Jessie washed her face, and dried her eyes, and went to the
glass to smooth her hair, staying longer than I thought ne-
cessary ; so I left her there, and went down alone.

Roger just looked up from his plate, when I entered, and
not seeing Jessie, ate his supper in silence. I could discover
from his troubled face that it had cost him a good deal to say
what might have seemed an unkind word to the poor little
motherless thing, but she quite needed it.

I forget exactly what passed at supper-time. I know it
was a great effort to me to talk to Leah, and that Roger
scarcely spoke, and Jessie looked as shy as a frightened bird.
We were not any of us natural, but we did not understand
each other, and so how could we be natural?

There was never much time between supper and going
to bed, but I longed to have Roger alone, and find out what
was really the matter about Jessie ; and it happened that I
had the opportunity, for Leah took advantage of having
Jessie there to send the maid to bed early, and she and Jessie
carried away the supper things, and then staid some time
talking in the kitchen, and William went away too ; and so
Roger and I were left to ourselves.

Roger entered upon the subject directly; " Jessie told
you what I said to her. Trot," he began.

" Yes ; she told me in her way, which is no way, at least
as far as understanding goes. I could make neither head nor
tail of it. Why didn't you speak to me first, Roger ? "

He laughed. " Put a woman to scold a woman ! you
would know better than that, Ursie, if you were a man."

" But what was the mischief ? " I asked.

" No mischief," he answered, with a flash in bis eye, as
though he were angry with the word. " But Hove people are



URSULA. 199

not very careful of what they say, and Jessie doesn't think.
JMrs. Deer heard a great noise, laughing and talking, in Hale's
sliop. Jane Shaw, and Captain Price, and a party of oificers,
were there having luncheon. Jessie was there too. Mrs.
Deer said she made more noise than any, and that people
stopped as they went by to listen, and that some one had heard
one of the officers call her Jessie, and that she laughed and
seemed to like it. I don't believe that ; but any how it was
not what I liked to hear ; and it's no use saying anything to
old Mrs. Morris, and less talking to Leah, and so I thought
tliat perhaps Jessie wouldn't take it amiss from an old friend,
if I gave her a word of warning myself. You know, Ursie,
I am going away, and not likely to see her again. But I
dare say I was wrong, women don't like being talked to."

" Whether they like it or not they must bear it, if they
need it," I replied. " But I don't think, Roger, you were
quite the person to speak."

" Likely enough ; but — " he stopped a moment, " it was
so on my mind, it came out almost before I was aware, and
now, I suppose, she won't forgive or forget."

" Don't fear that," I said ; " she is only a silly child, and
quite accustomed to be scolded."

He shut up suddenly; all his answer was, "Well! it
can't be lielpcd," and then he took a candle to go to bed.

I had felt cross when Leah first proposed that Jessie
should sleep in my room. It was taking things for granted
in a way I did not like ; but, as it happened, I was glad of
it afterwards, for it gave me the opportunity of a little more
talk with Jessie. There is no time like night for a free con-
versation. Jessie and I said little to each other as we were
undressing, but when the candle was out I took courage, and
told her what had passed between me and Roger, and how
he was afraid she was angry and would not forgive ; but, I
added, that for my part, 1 could not sec what cause he had
to ask for forgiveness. I felt lie had acted like a true friend,
thougli, perhaps, lie might have been a little sudden in his
way of introducing the subject ; and tlien I went on to give
her some more cautions for the future, telling her how spe-
cially needful it was for girls, left as we were, never to give
occasion for an unkind word. " Roger would stand by you.



200 URSULA.

Jessie," I said, " through thick and thin, and so would I ;
but you won't find many to do it, especially amongst the
persons whose company you think so much of now."

She caught up my words quickly, and answered that she
knew I had a bad opinion of the Shaws ; but I knew nothing
of them, and no one had ever been able to find any real harm
in them.

" As to real harm," I replied, " it would be dreadful in-
deed if things were to come to that pass. But that is look-
ing at matters only as men and women look at them. There
may be many things that we count trifles, which yet are real
harm in the sight of God."

" You have lived so much with set-up ladies and
grand people," said Jessie, " that you are over particular,
Ursie. How can a merry girl like me be expected to sail
about stiffly, and never speak above a whisper ? "

" You turn ofi"so, Jessie," I replied, " but you know quite
well what I mean. It is not the laughing and talking in
proper places, and with proper people, that any one finds
fault with. But Captain Price's gay friends are not your
friends ; they are not in your station, and there is the dan-
ger. When people are all equal they can have little friendly
jokes, and no harm may come of it. But what would be
very kind in Roger, or William, or John Hervey, would be
a liberty in one of Captain Price's idle set ; and, Jessie, Mrs.
Weir once said to me, and I wish to my heart you could re-
member it, that the mere fact of being a woman gives one a
claim to respect ; that it is a kind of natural rank which even
the beggar-girl in the street possesses, as long as she conducts
herself modestly and decently ; and she told me that the
least freedom of manner from a person above my own posi-
tion, let him be a gentleman or nobleman, or prince even,
would be a disrespect which I ought never to allow."

" I can't help . allowing it," said Jessie. " They laugh,
and say droll things, and then I can't help laughing in re-
turn."

" Which shows that it would be much better for you not
to mix with them," I said.

" But I don't see," persisted Jessie. " There is Jane
Shaw, she is not above you or me, naturally, but she has



URSULA. 201

been a good deal with Captain Price, and now she is going to
marry him. Where is the harm ? "

" Captain Price is no real gentleman, Jessie ; you must
own that," I replied. " Put him by the side of Mr. Stew-
art, of Hattou, and you see the difference directly."

" But he was born a gentleman ! "

" That may be ; but his habits and ways are not those of
a gentleman, nor of an honest farmer either. He is not
looked up to by any one, and that is the reason, so far as I
can see, why he is going to marry a woman like Jane Shaw,
who is much in the same plight. If Captain Price had re-
spected her, he would have known well enough that he had
no chance with her. An offer from such a man is no honour,
but the contrary. And as to being intimate with him or
his friends, why there is not one of Captain Price's set that
I would ever speak to again if he called me by my Christian
name ; and I have heard, Jessie, that you only laugh and
look pleased."

She was silent, and turned away from me, and I heard
she was sobbing. Presentl}^ she said, " Did Mr. Koger tell
you that '? "

" He told me he had heard it, but he didn't believe it."

" It was true." said Jessie; "I didn't think about it at
the time."

" But you will think about it now," I said. " Jessie,
why do you call, Roger, Mr. Roger ? You have known him
a pretty long time."

She quite started up. " I could not call him anything
else, he is so good."

" You respect him," I said ; " and so you can't take lib-
erties with him. What respect could Captain Price's friend
feel for you, Jessie, when, having only seen you a few times
before, he ventured to speak to you more freely than you
speak to Roger, whom you have known all your life ? "

She threw her arms round me, and kissed me, and thanked
nie, and I felt how impossible it was not to love her ; and
then she begged me to tell Roger that she was dreadfully
sorry, and it never should happen again ; only would he
please not say anything more about it to her. And again
turning from me she fell asleep as quickly as a child.
Vol. 1—9*



202 URSULA.



CHAPTER XXVII.

I AM going to Imrry over the parting with Roger. I
seem to have been telling of nothing but partings lately, and
moreover, to speak strictly, there was no parting. At the
time I felt this bitterly, but on looking back I see that it
was all for the best, and that I was saved a great deal. The
fortnight before Roger went was a very unsettled one for us
all ; so much so, that at last, though every moment with him
was indescribably precious, I began to wish that it was all
over. Leah I knew was impatient ; indeed she did not at-
tempt to conceal it. Everything was put aside to be done
when Roger was gone, for William and he had so much to
talk about and arrange, that there was no time to be given
to anything else. Then there were perpetual interruptions
from visitors ; Farmer Kemp, and John Hervey, and Mr.
Shaw, and Mr. Richardson, and even Mr. Stewart, of Hat-
ton, coming over to Sandcombe upon business or from kind-
ness. It was strange to find what an interest every one
took in Roger, I had not the least notion before, how much
he was respected ; but I don't think there is anything that
makes its way amongst country people like steady work and
honesty. It is better, even for this world, than great suc-
cess, which is thought so much of in town and manufacturing
districts. I did feel proud of Roger, as I watched him, with
his fine, manly face, and straightforward, yet respectful man-
ner, standing talking to Mr. Stewart, and giving his opinions
like a man who knows that his words are of value, because
they come from a true heart, and a single eye, and a rever-
ence for the laws of God and man. I heard Mr. Stewart say
one day to William, that he never knew before what they
were all going to lose in Roger, and he couldn't help wishing
that something had been thought of to keep him in England.
But it was too late ; time went on faster than I could well
bear to think, and at last there came the day before what I
thought was to be the last parting. I scarcely saw Roger
that morning, for he went over to Hatton to say good-bye to
Mrs. Morris and Jessie. He and Jessie were excellent



URSULA. 203

friends again, — all the more so for the little breeze. No-
tiling bad been said about it by either of them, but the few
times that Jessie came to Sandcombe whilst Roger was
there, I remarked that he talked more to her than he had
ever done, whilst she on her part seemed to lean to his opin-
ion in all matters.

It sometimes seemed to me a pity, that he should be go-
ing away, just when he was gaining an influence over her for
good ; and yet I knew that it was little enough he could do
for her. A girl of her age could not be guided by a man
of Roger's age. If any one could do her real good, it
would be myself I thought of this still more when Roger
came back from Ilatton. He had dined there, and was go-
ing then to Lougside ; and he might, he said, be obliged to
drive into Hove ; but he hoped not, as it would take up so
much time. He had walked to Hatton, but intended to ride
to Lougside ; and while his horse was being saddled, he
made me come out with him into the garden ; and we walked
up and down, and had a long conversation, and all the time
about Jessie, for she weighed a good deal upon my mind.
He said that she had come out more in this last meeting ; I
suppose the fact of his going away made her feel quite at
ease. She had told him that there was no one to look after
her ; and that she longed to have some person to cling to,
who might guard her.

" She did not ask you to take her with you to Canada, did
she ? " I said lauohiiifi!;.

He drew back his arm from from me, as though I had
struck him with a dagger. " I don't like those jokes, Ursie,"
he said. " If you will only keep Jessie from the Shaws, she
will soon find a good husband without going to Canada to
look for one." He was quite silent for some moments after
that ; and I was vexed, though I had spoken innocently
enough, knowing it was all nonsense. He said a little more
about William and Leah, and bade me stay with them under
all trials. " You are too young, Ursie," he said, " to cut the
cable and set sail by yourself. Trust to me, and if God
should be pleased to give me health and strength, we will
liave a home together again before many months are over ; and
if not" — he stopped short in his walk, and laid his hand upon



204 URSULA.

my shoulder — " Trot, little one, we must put relations first,
because God puts them first. God will help you whatever
comes."

Those seem to me the last words I heard him speak ; for
they are the last which rested in my mind. He rode off to
Longside, and on his way met John Hervey, who took him
on to Hove. Things were to be done there which he found
would keep him till very late at night ; and he was obliged
to be up very early the next morning, to be in time for the
London coach. Farmer Kemp came over to tell us this, and
brought a hasty note from Roger, saying that he and John
had settled that they must sleep in Hove ; and to beg that
all he had left might be sent in the very first thing in the
morning. Roger's hand shook, I am sure, when he wrote
that note ; and there was just at the end, " Cheer up and
trust; God bless you;" that was all. He had not a mo-
ment to spare. Farmer Kemp said. I remember I stood
quite still in the middle of the room, and did not speak a
word, till Farmer Kemp came up to me and whispered,
" Courage, lassie ; " and then quite quietly, for I could not
bear to let any one see what I felt, I answered, " The things
are very nearly ready ; I will go and see about them ; " and
up-stairs I went.

Not one tear did I shed till I found myself in bed at
twelve o'clock. It took me till then before all was ready;
and oh ! how I longed all the time for a kind word and look.
But William was vexed that Roger had not thought of the
plan before ; and Leah was sadly put out because I was
obliged to keep the maid up when she would not help me
herself; so they neither of them gave me much comfort. So
lonely, so very lonely I felt, when I lay down in my bed, —
no words can describe it. I had a short night, scarcely to bo
called rest, and was up at half-past four again, to finish the
last box. At half-past five I watched the cart drive out of
the yard ; and then I went back to my room again, and in-
stead of crying, I knelt down and said all my troubles out to
God, and that made me better.

The day after Roger went I thought of going over to see
Mrs. Weir. It must have looked unkind not to have done
BO before, but it was impossible. I was afraid Mrs. Weir



URSULA. - 205

would not understand this. People wlio are at leisure so
little know what the diflBcultics of busy people are. Even
now it was not very easy to find time for the walk ; for I had
a dress to make for Mrs. Eichardson, which had been put aside
for Roger's work ; and I had no means of gaining any extra
hours, as Leah was inclined to seize upon every moment to
which she had the slightest claim, and indeed, upon some on
which she had no claim. I had foreseen this from the be-
ginning, and resolved to have, if possible, a clear understand-
ing with her about it. I took the opportunity, when William
was smoking his pipe after dinner, and she was dawdling
about, before setting to work for the afternoon.

" Leah," I said, " I thought of walking over to the Heath
this afternoon ; and perhaps I might have a cup of tea there ;
so you needn't wait for me."

" It is early days to be going, isn't it ? " she said ; " and
I thought you wanted to sit quiet in the afternoon, and do
.your work."

" I should be back by half-past six," I said, " and I might
work between that and supper, and besides at odd times to-
morrow, and so make up. Mrs. Weir will think it strange
if I don't go."

" There is house needlework to be done between tea and
supper," replied Leah ; " and, as to odd times, I don't see
where they are to come from."

" I might manage half-an-hour before breakfast, perhaps,"
I said.

Leah looked black. '' You will scarcely do needlework,
and get breakfast, too," she said.

" I was not thinking of helping to get breakfast," I an-
swered. " I thought, Leah, you always did that yourself."

"I have done it since Jessie went," she replied ; " but I
can't go on with it. There are so many things to be seen to
at night, I must have more rest in the morning. And as for
Martha, it is useless to look to her; she has to light the fires,
and boil the milk for the men. There is the dairy, too. I
reckoned upon you looking after that, Ursie. Some one must
iiavc an eye to it early; and then Martha can clean the milk-
p.ins, and put it in order, whilst we are having our breakfasts."

All very true ; only the breakfast was Leah's own duty.

" Don't you see ? " inquired Leah.



206 URSULA.

" Yes, I see," was my reply. " But, Leah, if I take to
all this in the morning, you must please spare me an hour to
make up in the evening. I don't mean when there is a press,
but generally."

" We can see ; we'll talk about that," she replied. " It's
best to go on gradually. No one can mark out a day as you
would have it done, Ursie."

" And I suppose you would like to have the poultry fed
the first thing after breakfast," I said. " Jessie used to do
that, I know."

" I don't care about the poultry," she replied, " I have
taken to them myself, and I think it is better. But there's
the meat in the larder to be changed, and you could help
Martha clean the dishes ; and then, there is the cooking."

" I am not a good hand at cooking for so many," I said ;
" I suppose I shall have the girl to help ? "

" That is as may be. We shall see if she is wanted.
After all, there's not so much to be done. Bacon and cab-
bage are easily boiled for the men, and the maids eat af-
ter us."

" You give the men fresh meat sometimes in the week,
don't you V " I asked.

" Well! we used. But I find they do just as well with-
out it. And these aren't times when we can afi"ord to have
fancies. William is rather particular about his own dinners,
Ursie ; and I dare say, having been so much with Mrs. Ma-
son, you have learnt some things that may please him."

" You will want a pudding, I suppose, for the men ? " I
said.

" Why, yes, to be sure ; — it saves bacon. Apples are
coming in, but they are scarce this year, and I would have
them kept for William. Anything does for the men. They
eat suet pudding as often as not ; aicd baked rice and milk,
with a sprinkling of sugar, — not eggs, of course. By the
bye, Ursie, the day after to-morrow is baking-day, and then
William looks to having some fruit tarts made ; and he com-
plained last week that there weren't sweet cakes enough.
He is like a child in being fond of sweet things."

" The cooking and baking both will be more, I am afraid,
than I shall be able to undertake, Leah," I said, " consider-
ing that I have needlework of my own to do besides."



URSULA. 207

"It is only one day in the week," she replied, "and
Jessie always took the greatest part upon herself."

" Because she had nothing else to do," I replied. " What
I can put into the morning, I will ; but I would not have
you look to me for more than that, please ; for, indeed, I
don't think I shall be able to manage it."

" We shall see ; we can't settle beforehand ; only I
thought, Ursie, you were come to make yourself useful."

I did not know what to answer, being sure that, whatever
I said, she would take my words as a kind of promise.

" And there's washing too," she continued, in an under
tone.

" And help for that," I said, boldly.

" Yes, — some." Leah spoke doubtfully. " Mrs. Hobson
Avon't come, since Kitty has been turned away, and the Hat-
ton woman, whom I've engaged, won't be enough."

" But thci-e are Martha and the girl," I said.

" Yes, but if they are washing, who is to take their work ? "

" llcally, Leah," I said, " if you mean that I am to do it,
I don't see how it is possible. There will be cooking on
washing-days, just as on any another, in the morning, and a
great deal more fuss in the house. If you help yourself, or
have some one else to help, we may do very well ; but all
the willing horses in England won't be able to draw a waggon
if it is loaded too heavily."

" It will only come once in six weeks," she said, " I have
made up my mind to that."

" And the work will be all the more heavy," I replied.
" If you would have it once a month, and get proper help,
Leali, I am sure you would find it better."

" I think, Ursie, you had best leave me to manage my
own affairs," was the reply I had from her ; and she went off
without giving me any more definite notion of my work, or
any better idea of how it was all to be managed.

It was not hopeful certainly. My thoughts turned back to
Roger and my happy home at Dene, with no one to interfere
with me ; all my duties regular and orderly, and Roger always
pleased with me. I did not see how I could get on as things
were ; but still less did I see how God, by these little trials,
was teaching and training me.



208 U K S U L A



CHAPTER XXVIII.



FoK I had great faults. They are clear to me now. At
that time I almost thought they were virtues. Left so
early as I was without a mother to search minutely into the
defects of my natural character, perhaps it is not surprising
that they were hidden from me ; although I can with truth
say, that, in the main, my heart's desire was to serve God
and do my duty conscientiously.

Wilful and hasty I had no doubt that I was; I had
been punished for these faults continually, and Roger had
again and again corrected me for them. Some people, too,
said I was self-trusting and conceited, but my conscience, on a
surface examination, in a measure, acquitted me. If persons
were set over me whom I respected, I could obey, and be glad


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