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gave us to eat, she'd say, if we didn't like it,
we could go to the Union, and have skilly — that
made us hold our tongues! I remember a
girl with pretty light hair, who had a little
sister : they always sat on the ground cuddled
in each other's arms. The eldest — I should
think she would be eleven — told us their
mother had gone away with another man
(I didn't know what that meant then), and



OTHER people's TROUBLES. 97

their father had gone to seek her, and they'd
been sent to the Union. We left 'em there
when we came out. I never saw 'em after, or
heard what 'came of 'em. I've often thought
since how much worse they was off than us
— with mother.'

' Other people's troubles are a lesson to bear
our own, Susie/ Winny said.

* They ought to be, Miss Winny, but our
own feels to lie heaviest at the time. I always
say nobody can go far wrong in giving a mite
to widows and fatherless bairns ; for let 'em
strive ever so, they'll have less than enough
while they are little. I speak what I know
— My mother and yours, Miss Winny, has been
a good sample, but they've looked to One
above, and have been helped, as well as helpers
of themselves.'

Here Susan fell silent. They were coming
round the corner under the wall of St Stephen
Martyr's. The gravestones faced the moon-
light, standing erect, and awry and low-sunken
amongst the crowded mounds, all whitened with
the hoarfrost. Winny Hesketh paused to look

VOL. II. G



98 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

through the iron gate which was ajar, and said :
* My father is buried here — I cannot remember
him.'

* Mine lies in Rossall churchyard/ said
Susan.

There were rough steps and voices in the
old porch, and suddenly the bells in the tower
above, clanged and swung, then dropt into a
sweet, regular chime, familiar to Winny ever
since she was born. ' I do love the Christmas
bells, and there will be the carol-singers at
midnight,' she said, and they lingered, listen-
ing to the peal that triumphed high in the
air.

As they went on again presently Susan with
fervour remarked : * I am downright glad,
Miss Winny, you're come home for Christmas
Day. Last year, and the year before, it was
not like Christmas, mistress and me alone by
our two selves.'

Winny was glad too — especially when her
mother lifted up her face with a placid content
upon it as she entered the parlour, and an-
nounced that her letter and parcel were



OTHER people's TROUBLES. 99

Started, safe and fair, upon their road to
London.

' Don't be so sanguine, Winny, and you will
feel the disappointment less when it comes,'
said the widow warningly.

Winny persisted in her show of good-humour,
though, no doubt, she experienced a chill. Life
would have seemed easier, on the whole, If her
mother had believed in her — had believed, that
is, in the possible success of her tentative efforts
in literature instead of being so calmly resigned
to the anticipation of her defeat.

Winny Hesketh had, indeed, somewhat to
reflect on this Christmas Eve, though she had
also the buoyancy which gets the better of
depressing reflections. It could not have
profited her to foresee that whatever she was
minded to do in the future would have to be
done in her own strength, and that the en-
couragement which flows from the manifest
faith and interest of dear and near belong-
ings would be wanting. She caught a glimpse
of it in her mother's indifference, but shut her



lOO THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

eyes to It. This aspect of the world was not
enticinof. But on the other side there was
necessity. Work she must, and it appeared
her indisputable right to choose the work she
liked best. If her mother had a preference,
so had she a preference. And she had not
been trained to self-dependence for nothing.
She had drawn from late and present events
the inevitable conclusion that for her self-
dependence would prove no fiction, but a real
and permanent state of life. Three months
hence she must be provided with a fresh
sphere of teaching, or be at a loss. It was
good, then, to furnish a second string to her
bow — thus she described to herself that in-
venting and scribbling of which her mother
did not try to conceal her disapproval — she
called it a second string to her bow. Her
determination to persevere was not relaxed,
but her hope in persevering was abated.
However, she knew it was no uncommon
lot for prophets to be despised In their own
country — which exaggerated similitude, applied



OTHER people's TROUBLES. Id

to the consolation of her insignificant self,
brought a smile to her lips that even ex-
panded Into an audible laugh.

' What makes you merry, Winny ? ' her
mother asked, peering through her spectacles
at the young face addressed to the fire.

' My own thoughts. The comic side of
myself that I cannot help seeing,' replied
WInny, and rose abruptly, and went to the
window.

* You are happy who can laugh at your-
self!' Her mother fancied, but could not
be sure, that she had gone to look out at
the moonlight to hide a rush of tears as
sudden as her laughter. When Winny was
tired or overstrained she was liable to these
capricious humours, which were best left un-
noticed.



CHAPTER VIII.

AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.

Since Winny Hesketh became her own mistress
her mother had prepared her a little chamber
to herself, with painted walls, a white bed, and
all things suitable and according. The window-
seat supplied her Indispensable need of a writing-
table, and there was a hanging shelf for books.
This was WInny's castle. It was high up In
the roof, but she did not mind stairs then-
a-days.

When she had said 'good-night' to her
mother, Susan asked if she would like to be
awakened when the carol-singers came at mid-
night. * Trust me for waking,' said Winny.
In fact, she did not offer herself to sleep ; she
had ever so much thinking to do. She wrapped
herself warmly, and sat at the window, with
the blind up, contemplating the sky, where the



AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. I03

moon rode In cloudless effulgence, and the fields
across the river, silvered with frosty brightness.
The bells had ceased, and St Stephen's bulked
vast in the depth of Its shadows and wan dis-
tinctness of its broad lights at the corner of
Castle Green. The town was quiet now — so
quiet that a footstep on the stones was heard
from a long way off, echoing as it approached
or retired.

There was nothing to distract Winny Hes-
keth from her meditations. In her closet she
was less cheerful than before witnesses. She
put off her cheerfulness as we put off a garment
assumed for an occasion, and let herself go,
as it were, to rest after a prolonged effort. Her
sense of perfect aloneness was accompanied with
a sense of relief. Her troubles never descended
upon her with perturbation ; they brought a
stillness of spirit rather, and she had been visited
by none yet that passion had magnified out of
just shape and proportion. She could even treat
them in order.

She considered first the calamity of the day
— she esteemed it nothing short of a calamity



I04 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD. .

that she had a new home to seek at Easter.
Then came in sequence the recollection that a
governess's life is naturally broken in pieces by-
such seekings, and unless she have unusual luck
and pluck so it runs all away. For this, if for
nothing else, she had constantly affirmed that
she would not adhere to it beyond that age of
thirty years which old Mam'zell had named as
the date of liberty with propriety. She re-
affirmed the same to-night, accompanied by
speculations on the strength and elasticity of
that second string to her bow. Her mother
had bidden her not be too sanguine — but her
temper was not of the most sanguine type.
She could face her troubles with some courage,
but she had no vision of miracles turning
up to disperse them. She had a very clear
perception, indeed, that they had to be lived
through, and with composure.

Not for the world would she have had any
one conjecture from her behaviour that she
entertained an abiding regret because of Mr
Durant. She did not avert her heart from his
remembrance, but what she dwelt upon was



AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. 105

only what she knew — how he had looked,
spoken, been to her so kind. She was not
sorry that she had known him — would not
have given away her Inarticulate pain for any
ease that could have been offered to her. At
present, she imagined that she would rather not
see him again ; not until she had quite conquered
the emotions that rose In her when she recalled
his face, his voice, his air, his ways, manly and
Indulgent, yet Imperative and firm. Oh, how
good, how tender would such a man be to the
woman he loved !

That thought would not bear caressing.
Winny bade it avaunt. If It did not go at one
bidding, or if It recurred, more was the pity !
Mildred Hutton's letter had given It a manner
of licence — that letter was not altogether wise,
and WInny cherished it as her most precious
treasure. It was her plea for herself when she
mused over Mildred's prediction, and half
allowed, half denied, that she had fallen In
love perversely. But there was no anger, no
remorse, and small shame attendant on the fall-



I06 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

ing, and she would not sink deeper In for
wanton weakness.

Long ago, in the ' Spectator/ that Inexhaus-
tible manual of worldly experience, WInny had
read that a disappointment in love is the worst
of all disappointments to get over. If she had
been charged with suffering this disappointment,
she would have scouted the accusation Indig-
nantly. She told herself — and with much truth
— that she only liked Mr Durant : well, loved
him, perhaps, a little; for love varies in degree
as it differs in kind, and she was sure that her
power of lovlngness was far beyond the feeling
that he had unintentionally evoked. Love
him ? how could she love him when he Had
never spoken to her of love ? She did not blame
him — she was not unhappy at all ; It was just
her fancy, her folly. Nevertheless, a few smart-
ing tears came with that positive self-con vin ce-
ment.

With weariness and drowsiness these
musings slipped away, and when the carol-
singers had been and gone, WInny lay down
and slept . healthfully. There was not much



AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. IO7

Sting in her sorrows, and there was much vigour
and resistance in her character.

Winny Hesketh awoke on Christmas-day
morning feeling as if she had no substantial
troubles at all. The sun was shining, and her
mother met her with animation. They went
to church together, and Winny had a word of
greeting from various friends and acquaintances
who all flattered her that she looked blooming.
Even Aunt Agnes would have been satisfied
now with her country niece's style of dress — a
style that was like herself. She wore to-day a
Limerick red cloak in the Irish fashion, a dress
of fine grey merino, and a velvet-bonnet of the
same neutral tint, with a curl of carnation
feather, and all round her face a tulle quilling
with loops of white satin and a big bow under
her chin. When her mother looked at her in
church she thought what a pretty young
creature her Winny was.

Somebody else thought so too. That was
Mr Durant in the gallery. Winny did not see
him to begin with. She sat above her mother



I08 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

In the pew where she used to sit to be sepa-
rated from Dick when they were children.
Her countenance was peaceful. Her eyes
were not on her book (Indeed, it was shut for
the most part), but neither did they rove so
much as Aunt Agnes had once remarked.
They were tranquil and abstracted. It Is to
be feared that WInny still gave way to wander-
ing thoughts.

Old Mr Musty had died gradually out of the
pulpit some years ago, and had been succeeded
by a gentleman of family and estate, who kept
a curate, and was known to the widow
Hesketh only on Sundays and the greater
Church festivals. There had been no religious
revival in Cotham yet, and it could not be
objected that the ecclesiastical practices at St
Stephen Martyr's savoured of Popery. The
service was relieved by the singing of two
psalms only. Brevity and despatch were the
reigning incumbent's motto, and though the
sacred edifice was adorned with holly-boughs
for Christmas, neither taste nor labour had
been engaged in producing artistic effects.



AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. ICQ

The sexton and the clerk, and the charwoman
who cleaned the church, had done it.

Mr Durant had the advantage of one ample
bunch of prickly winter-green to shield him
from public view. He did not wish to be
noticed by Miss Hesketh. He felt a forbidden
pleasure in watching her unsuspected. To
enjoy that pleasure he had come to Cotham
twice or thrice before, and had missed it
deservedly. It was a yielding to inclination
which he excused as lawful anxiety to judge
for himself how that sweet-eyed little woman
got on. He felt very tender for her, had not
meant to harm her, yet feared that he was
somehow worthy of condemnation. Mrs Hut-
ton the elder had shaken her head at him, and
said his kindness to that girl was cruel kind-
ness, and he ought to repent in dust and ashes.
He was not repenting at this moment. He
was amused by the perfect serenity and un-
consciousness of Miss Hesketh's visage. It
betrayed no grieving that he should repent.
It prompted him rather to be satisfied and
glad.



I lO THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

While he was thinking this thought Winny
lifted her eyes straight to his face, as if she
had known that he was there. The tip of
flame in her bonnet did not burn more vividly
than her cheeks as she met his gaze resting
upon her. She looked up no more during
either psalm or sermon, and what her face said
now he was perplexed to read — she had not
appeared so devout that she could complain he
had disturbed her devotions.

In the church porch he waited for her
coming out : waited, if the occasion had been
good, with exemplary patience, for the north
wind blew in from the river, keen and cutting.
But presently the door was shut, and he had
not seen her — he supposed she must have
gone out by another way. In fact, Winny had
stayed with her mother for the Communion,
and at the second leaving of the congregation
he had disappeared.

After that incident Winny Hesketh had not
two opinions of whether she might or might not
be right and safe in meeting Mr Durant. She
crushed her poor little hands together, and said



AT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, 1 1 I

to herself with a bitterer pain in her heart, and
hotter tears in her eyes : * I must not see him
ever again if I can help it — I must avoid
seelne him or I shall be miserable/ And she
proved her sincerity by keeping indoors the
remainder of that day and all the next, while
she supposed him to be about the town.
This did not surprise her mother because
snow began to fall in the afternoon, and the
next morning lay so deep that there could be
no walking with pleasure. And when the
carriage arrived on the third day to convey her
back to Hall Green she returned to her duties
with a sense of escape.



CHAPTER IX.

A WILL OF HER OWN.

The weeks that intervened before Easter
seemed to glide by more swiftly than any
previous weeks in all Winny Hesketh's life.
Yet they were not unmarked by incidents and
episodes.

The first was a singular surprise. One
morning the post brought her a letter from
little Myra of her Manor School days, and a
jeweller's box, containing a gold watch with
an inscription to her from the donor. Winny
read the letter between laughing and crying.
Myra had ceased to be little Myra a good
while ago, and wrote of herself as having
outgrown her strength, and being an immensely
tall rail of a delicate young woman. She was
an orphan of fortune, as, perhaps, Miss Winifred
knew, and she wished to offer her this remem-



A WILL OF HER OWN. I I 3

brance, which she did with the approval of her
guardians. Winny was much pleased, was very
grateful ; it was a beautiful watch, a valuable
gift. She wrote back a letter of warm thanks,
and news of old companions that she thought
Myra would like to hear. It seemed but a
very short while after, that Myra closed her
great blue eyes on this world. In fact, Winny
had no second letter from her.

Another incident. In February Winny had
tidings of that parcel of manuscript which she
had sent to London on Christmas Eve — in a
letter from the great editor himself, which made
her spirits go up amazingly. He gave her
praise and encouragement that she was shy of
believing, and he invited her to become one of
his contributors. Her story had impressed him
profoundly ; it was too long for his purpose,
but he would undertake to find her a publisher
for it.

*What will my mother — what will Georgie
say ! ' was Winny s first reflection ; and she
determined to reserve her news for the triumph
of a personal communication.

VOL. IL H



^

^



I 14 THIS WORK- A- DAY WORLD.

A few days later she despatched to London
some photographic country-sketches, and the
volume went to a publisher. In the following
month she received one of her sketches in print,
and immediately after a cheque for six guineas
— the first-fruits of her scribbling. She turned
it into gold and silver, and the next time she
went into Gotham she carried it to show to
Georgie. When she showed it to her mother,
that obstinate woman would only reiterate her
desire that Winny should continue a good
governess and let writing alone, and she felt
her need of warmer sympathy.

Miss Denham had returned from Paris only
a few days before, and welcomed her comrade
with a lively effusion of talk on her own
studies which were succeeding entirely as she
would have them. Winny listened, and the
clock ran on. At length there was a pause,
and she drew out her purse, concerning
which Georgie remarked that she wanted a
new one.

' I have a better for display — this is for service/
replied Winny, and extracting the sovereigns



A WILL OF HER OWN. I I 5

and the shillings, she arranged them upon
the table In a neat device. ' Fairy-money.
Out of my own head, Georgle. Can I gratify
you with a small present In any shape ? I
am going to spend all that in buying myself
pleasures,' said she consequentially.

* Have you lost your wits, Winny ? What
do you mean ? *

* I hope not, for I have just begun to find
out what they are worth. This is pay for
pen-work.'

Georgle coloured with astonishment, was
congratulatory, and asked questions on her
own account. Winny gave the fullest answers
she was able, but contented herself with
exhibiting the pence, and kept the praise
in her pocket. They reverted to scientific
discourse. Apparently the success of one
scribbler would provoke the emulation of
another. Winny's triumph fell rather flat.
Georgle was glad for her friend, and was
immediately filled with projects of her own.

The lavish manner in which Winny spent
those six guineas alarmed her mother, who



Il6 THIS WORK- A- DAY WORLD,

said It was exactly her poor father's way.
Winny persisted all the same — bought Georgie
a book that she had expressed a wish to
possess, and Mildred Hutton a wedding-
present of Bohemian glass. Susan got a new
cap and Nanny Anson half-a-crown, and what
was left went to purchase things for the widow
Hesketh's table, v/hich had been for years in
use and fashion elsewhere, but which her
means had never yet compassed. 'And now,
Winny, having got rid of all your fairy-money,
I suppose you feel contented ? ' said her mother.
And Winny said, ' Yes. Perfectly,' with an air
most provoking.

The next event was a proposal from the
publisher to give twenty guineas for the copy-
right of that story which had impressed the
famous editor. Winny accepted It with thanks.
It seemed to her a very handsome sum for
what had cost her so little pains ; and she took
the opportunity of intimating to her incredulous
mother that her scribbling was not mere waste
paper, according to the commercial maxim
that the worth of anything is just as much as



A WILL OF HER OWN. I I 7

It will bring. The widow Hesketh, if con-
vinced at all, was convinced against her will.
She gazed through her spectacles at the
cheque, and said she would put it in the bank
— the bank gave interest at two and a half
per cent.

' The pounds. I want the shillings to
make ducks and drakes of,' exclaimed Winny
forcibly.

Her mother looked up with grave remon-
strance : ' " Wilful waste makes woeful want."
You may live to need it,' said she.

' Avarice is the vice of old a^e. I can-
not cultivate that and the joys of youth
too. The shillings, mother, the shillings !
That is my principle.* And before the too-
prudent widow was permitted to deposit
the cheque in her cash-box, she had to
dole out the silver to her resolute daueh-
ten

' Self-willed you always were, and self-
willed you will be to the end of the chap-
ter,' said she, counting the coins reluctantly
into Winny's rosy palm. She did not know



Il8 THIS WORK- A- DAY WORLD.

whether to be pleased or vexed with
her.

' My dear mother, a woman who earns
her ov/n Hving is entitled to have a will of
her own,' was Winny's rejoinder.

The widow Hesketh was a reasonable
person. This independence was what she
had brought her child up to, and she had no
right to complain if she did not find it al-
together agreeable. She reflected upon it
much more than she expressed, and she
began to discern that Winny had a very
stronof streak of her father in her, which
circumstances would develop.

Mrs Brunton had been apprised that Miss
Hesketh was leaving Hall Green at Easter,
and had promised to look out for a suitable
re-engagement for her. Winny was not anxious
to hear of her success. She hoped that if
she were left some time at Gotham unem-
ployed, her mother might let her slide into
that system of daily teaching pursued by
Delphine Mercier, which would give her
the coveted liberty of evenings at home.



A WILL OF HER OWN. I 1 9

She did not speak of what she wished, because
she thought it would come about more easily
without formal introduction ; and, in fact,
Easter did arrive Avithout any new situation
having been proposed to her. She left her
first with true regret.

Easter fell early that year, at the beginning
of April, and Winny observed to her mother
that if a temporary engagement offered in
the town, she might as well accept it. Her
mother did not gainsay her, and Winny
let her friends know that she desired one.
Mrs Brunton demurred, but added that if
she were in earnest, it would not be far to
seek ; and the very next day a Mrs Rigby
called to inquire for her. Mrs Rigby wanted
all the accomplishments in perfection for five
daughters ; she required the services of a
governess from eight in the morning to seven
in the evening, and as her residence was over
two miles from the town, she expected the
person she employed to lodge in the house
of a retired servant, living in the suburb
going out that way. She offered a salary



I 20 THIS WORK-A-DAY WORLD.

of fifty pounds and dinner — thirty would
be the expense of the lodging with break-
fast and tea. She concluded her pro-
posal with a remark that she knew it was
one that many governesses would jump at.
Winny Hesketh declined it, but immediately
after she accepted a three hours' morning
engagement at the opposite end of the town
for thirty guineas. The widow Hesketh
looked cruelly grieved when she heard it,
and Susan assured her young mistress that
she would have no peace at home while it
lasted.

And Susan was right. There are cold
days in April and May, bitter, windy, sleeting
days, and such was the first Winny had
to turn out in to go to her employment. If
she had been going to execution her mother
could hardly have seemed more dolorous,
more mortified. Winny laughed at her,
and went and came in matter-of-fact
good -humour. That weather held for a
week.

* Never mind! It is showing me the worst



A WILL OF HER OWN. I 2 I

It can do, and summer is not far off/ she
answered to her mother's plaintive remon-
strances. Then : ' I shall be a very fortu-
nate woman if I never have to encounter
anything more disastrous than a wetting.'

But it was useless. The widow's prejudice
was not to be overcome. Aunt Agnes also
considered it much nicer for a young gover-
ness to live in a family than to be constantly
in the streets. WInny was irritated. She
thought all this very foolish. The restraint
of other people's houses was irksome to
her, and she wanted to stay with her mother.


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