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And resisting all temptations to call upon your many friends in the neighbourhood ?' Sir Mark asked, with the slightest approach to a smile, as he sat down.
Why did the slight smile and question associate itself so naturally with the sentence he had overheard ? He could not tell, but it was so, and the whole formed a strange comment on the disturbing reflections of his walk back to Whitefield. But he would not evade the question.
• There again you give me credit for more stoicism than I possess.
I have been to Carisbroke, and found Miss Desborough taking her daily exercise.
He was safe from any raillery. Sir Mark was too kind and wise to touch further on delicate ground. He merely inquired after Mr. Carisbroke ; and when Mordaunt spoke of his precarious state, he listened with interest, and said only a few words, which inferred rather than fully expressed his admiration for Jane. And Eve had no phrases, however brief, in which to name one who had been through life so true a friend, so generous a benefactress. 'I will not be a hypocrite again,' she thought bitterly ; and once more Mordaunt watched her sink into
a mournful abstraction, which was becoming habitual.
She wants rousing, she wants employment-anything, even painful, which would break this wretched tendency.' But though he watched, he would not seem to do
On the contrary, he drew on his best powers of conversation, that her husband might not notice her. And something of the same motive led Sir Mark into the same course. When at last Eve roused herself, she found them busy with topics of no ordinary interest to both—topics which she did not understand or care about, she fancied. She gathered from it all, therefore, no information on particular subjects, only the impression that she was listening to two men whose intellect was of a high order, and who had grown into a thorough comprehension and appreciation of each other's character, which till now she had never so fully observed. The connexion between them was changed: they were friends, they were cousins; and she, who had helped thus to link themwhat was she now to each ? Alienated from the one, and what to the other? the worse than blank, which neutralized all the blessings of his lot. The diligence with which they tried to appear not to observe her,
The sorrow, It was
successfully conveyed to her the idea that she was shut out entirely from them both. almost a relief when Sir Mark at length pushed away his chair and rose.
"How idle I should grow if you were always here to talk to me;' and so, more cheerfully than was his wont, he went out to prepare for departure.
Then Mordaunt executed a purpose formed during that same animated parley. “You don't see much of Miss Desborough, Eve, I fancy. Where any one is ill, the usual routine of hours is so changed that probably you may call halfa-dozen times and not see her.'
Eve was silent. It did not seem as if Jane had complained of her, but she would not equivocate, even by a simple yes.' * And yet I think you might do her a service by going often at odd times, when you might really find her at liberty. Think what a wearing life she has of anxiety and solitude ; and she loves you very sincerely
Are you sure of that ?'
* You must see Laura's child before you go, Eve said, glad to change the subject; and so the rest of Mordaunt's short stay passed in
admiration of the general pet of the family, as this once unwelcome little intruder had long since become.
We always admire and praise people who are constantly occupied. It would seem as if we regarded them as an elevated species of martyrs, perpetually making sacrifices of their ease and comfort to the inexorable tyrant Well-doing. We do not only praise-secretly we often pity. But it is a mistake.
Whatever perseverance or small spur they need to give self, is amply repaid by the enjoyment of occupation. There is infinite delight in work, even if it be not exactly the sort of work most congenial. We can hardly do anything with all our might which will not prove well done; and if the body be worn and the mind weary, Conscience has a pleasant lullaby for the ears of him with whom she is at peace. Pity then, rather, three other classes—those who have never learned that labour of some kind or other is the lot of every child of man, a lot blest in proportion to its dedication to God, and whose powers therefore are rusting, and time consumed away by ennui and indolence—those who, having learned the truth, want resolution to follow it; who know their lives perverted, and envy others who
have chosen the right ;-but, oh ! far more pity those on whom rests some burden so heavy that it numbs every faculty; whose tempesttost minds cannot rest for a moment in any occupation; whose attention can rarely be arrested, or interest excited, in any but the one point which is the phantom by which the aching brain is possessed.
Eve, for the last year, might have been numbered with the latter. It would have been hard to say what pleased or engrossed her. Certainly not society, in which she once longed to shine. Mrs. Philipson had been happily mistaken there. Eve had fancied a sneer in every token of respect, a sarcasm in every friendly word. The world knows our motives even better than our friends do,' she had once heard Sir Mark say; and she never met a stranger's eye without trembling beneath the scrutiny. The world had therefore no charity to bestow upon her. She looked afraid of it, and it had no mercy upon her cowardice.
An unhappy, pining creature, sacrificed for money; one has but to see her to be convinced.' She shrunk even from the slight admiration excited by her beauty, before it faded.
She felt no strength, no safety in herself, and turned in