« PreviousContinue »
GRACE DERMOTT AND HER ONE FAULT.
YOU AT T.
• They never loved as you and I,
Who ministered the moral
Grace Dermott was an only, and a motherless one occasion, after dining and spending the child. Beautiful and high-spirited, with no one evening there, Mr. Willoughby had ventured to to contradict, and few to advise her, it was not request a sight of the drawing upon which to be expected that she should be faultless. We Grace had been so diligently employed, only none of us are, even the most carefully brought lifting up her eyes now and then to listen, as he up; and Grace had been accustomed to have thought, to their conversation, but in reality to her own way in everything. Her father thought I see that the likeness was correct. But upon her her perfection ; and his guests petted her as a putting it aside with some confusion, the request child, and admired and flattered her as she grew was not repeated ; and Grace laughed quietly at up to womanhood. We do not mean to give a his expense, over one of her very best caricacatalogue of all poor Grace's little faults, but tures. only her one besetting sin, together with its con- Mr. Dermott died suddenly, a day or two sequences. We have every one of us our be- after the celebration of his daughter's sevensetting sin, and the lesson may not be without teenth birth-day, at which he had appeared to be its moral. Grace's was the love of mischief- one of the gayest of the gay. His friends were for we can scarcely call it satire. Some may of course much shocked; but still more so to think this a very trifling error, but there are few find that poor Grace was left almost entirely more dangerous to woman's happiness. Wit is portionless. The girl herself never thought of too keen a weapon for her delicate hands to wield that; she lamented only for her kind and affecwith safety, and is sure sooner or later to start tionate parent; and when the first violence of aside and wound its possessor ; and its wounds her grief had sufficiently abated to enable her to are of all others the most difficult to cure. What mark the change that had come over those with her caricatures and lampoons-her ready among whom she associated (for, as we have perception of the ridiculous, and exquisite skill said, she had few friends), her resolution was inin hitting off the little oddities and peculiarities stantly taken--the house and furniture were sold of others, Grace made herself many enemies, off, and a situation cheerfully accepted as gorerand was set down as ill-natured and satirical, ness in the family of one who had known her in whereas she was only thoughtless and mirth- better days, and would, she thought, be kinder loving. Then she was so young, and every one to her for that reason. Poor Grace! she little laughed --how could they help it ?-instead of knew the world. Her high, brave spirit, that reasoning with her; while the warning that might | defied it at first, was soon crushed and broken; have put a stop to it at once was never suffered but although galled, and disappointed, and heart to reach her ears.
sick, she remained in this family many weary Among the many guests who visited at Mrs. years of such petty and hourly trials as fret and Dermott's hospitable mansion, there was none
wear away life itself. who afforded Grace so good a subject for the Her beauty faded, her cheek paled, her step exercise of her powers as a certain Mr. Theo- lost its buoyancy, and her haughty spirit was philus Willoughby. He was at that time about chastened, nay humbled to the very dust! The six-and-twenty years of age, although looking flattered and admired heiress, as she was once considerably older ; reserved, and somewhat supposed to be, dwindled in her new home to a awkward in his manners, and wore green spec- mere automaton, and was only sought to make tacles. As Grace would have said, he was pe- up a quadrille, or play to others while they culiarly celebrated for having very large and danced. Very frequently Grace never entered very red hands, and never knowing what to do the drawing-room at all, but would sit in her with them! Mr. Willoughby was a great fa- own chamber, listening to the old familiar tunes vourite with Mr. Dermott, to whom he was in linked with such happy memories of by-gone return most sincerely attached. While of Grace days, and dreaming pleasantly of the past, he knew but little ; her brilliant beauty and his pleasantly because it served to cheat the future own natural reserve placing a barrier between for a brief hour of its sadness. And no one the two which neither cared to pass over. Upon ever missed her. It has been truly said, that
Grace Dermott and her One Fault.
our heaviest trials and afflictions are but blessings Grace instinctively returned to the side of her in disguise. And so Grace grew the better, and only friend. meeker, and holier for those lonely hours in • You have not danced all the evening," said which she communed with her own heart, and he; “ and you used to be so fond of dancing. was still.
Sorrow taught her sympathy for How is that ?" others. And the covert sarcasm aimed by the “ For a very good reason,” replied Grace, thoughtless and unfeeling against the pale and with something of her natural archness,“ bequiet governess seemed to her to be only a just cause no one has asked me." retribution for the sins of her own youth.
“ I wish that I danced," said her companion, Mrs. Stanly, the lady with whom she resided, simply: really fancied she had done a kind thing in
but I have been very happy tooffering an asylum, together with a very moderate night-happier than I have felt for years! It is salary, to the young orphan, in exchange for her so delightful to be able to talk of my poor father, time and talents—we had almost said her life and my dear lost home!" and health, for both were rapidly giving way
“Does she mean that I have made her happy?” beneath the ceaseless and unbroken monotony thought Mr. Willoughby; while his kind heart of her toilsome existence. On the birthday of yearned towards the daughter of his earliest her eldest daughter, a girl of twelve years old, friend. Mrs. Stanly gave a large party, at which the Grace was again called away to play quachildren and their governess were permitted to drilles. At supper-time she had actually vaappear--a permission the latter would gladly nished, and was most probably engaged in have dispensed with on her usual plea; and it superintending the profusion of delicacies with was no feigned one, of a bad headache; but was which the guests were so plentifully supplied. informed that she would most likely be required It was late when she again made her appearance, to play quadrilles.
and the company had begun to depart. Mr. The first person Grace saw, upon entering the Willoughby was standing near the door, waiting drawing-room, was Mr. Theophilus Willoughby ask if they were ever to meet again, but he anti
to wish her good-night. Poor Grace longed to and his green spectacles. He evidently did not recognize her; and the poor girl felt sad as she cipated her, by saying, recalled to mind their last meeting on her own
“ I hope to see you soon, Miss Dermott, very birthday, now nearly four years ago. Presently had I been aware of the treasure my friend
I should have come here long before, an old lady, who was in the habit of visiting Mrs. Stanly held in her keeping.” there, spoke to Grace by name, as she passed; and Mr. Willoughby started forward with a
There was a time when Grace would only sudden exclamation of mingled delight and have laughed at such a speech, coming from astonishment.
him; but now she both looked and declared
herself glad that he was not going away for ever. “ Can it be possible,” said he, “ that I be- Mr. Willoughby went home to wonder how it hold Miss Dermott, the daughter of my dear old friend? And so changed--pardon me, so
was that he had never thought to notice her sadly changed !” He held her little hand in both her sweet voice. Strangely enough, Grace never
ago, and to dream of her sad smile and of his large ones as he spoke, while his voice observed his awkwardness—perhaps he had got faltered strangely.
the better of it-nor his large red hands; but Grace struggled in vain to reply to this kind then to be sure he wore white kid gloves! And greeting, and finally ended by bursting into the only conclusion she arrived at, after lying tears.
awake half the night, was, that he was very “Good heavens!” exclaimed Mr. Willoughby, clever and very kind, and that she had been much shocked. “You are ill! What can I do very foolish and wicked ever to ridicule him. for you?"
Mr. Willoughby now became a constant "Nothing---nothing, indeed -I shall be better visitor at Mrs. Stanly's. Grace and he fredirectly. You will think me very weak and quently never met for weeks; but then it was foolish."
something to know that he was in the house; Mr. Willoughby answered kindly, placing and she would often steal to the head of the himself so as to screen her as much as possible stairs, to hear him say "Good night,” or “Good from the observation of others, and she soon morning," as the case might be; or perhaps only recovered. They were just beginning to talk the echo of his footsteps in the hall, or the sound together of old times, when Mrs. Stanly called of his carriage-wheels as he drove away. He Grace to come and make up a whist-table. managed, however, to find opportunities of
“ Are you fond of cards?” asked Mr. Wil- telling her how disappointed he felt upon these loughby, detaining her for a moment.
occasions ; and would send little presents of “ No, I hate them !”
books and flowers, which Grace returned by “ Then why go?”
netting him a purse. What with reading, and Grace looked up with a melancholy smile, as working, and thinking, the hours did not seem she reluctantly followed her benefactress. And half so long as they used. Teaching was no Mr. Willoughby fell into a reverie, in which longer a task, or solitude a weariness; and that sad smile haunted him, and from which he even unkindness itself had lost half its power to never awoke until the game was ended, and I wound.
One morning, when her pupils had gone out ness seemed built upon a firm foundation. His for a drive with their mamma, and Grace taken was the deep and tender devotion of the strong the opportunity of practising on the drawing- man for the gentle being who has only him to room piano, that in the school-room being sadly look to in the whole world : hers the clinging out of tune, Mr. Willoughby was unexpectedlý fondness of the green ivy for the oak that supannounced. He did not seem at all surprised to ports and shelters it. Very few gave Grace find them absent, being probably aware of the credit for her disinterestedness; but all agreed in fact; and Grace, having a secret idea of her pronouncing her to be a very fortunate girl. own, that he would be just as well pleased to Frequently during their brief courtship, when find things in their present state, did not think they sat together sketching bright plans for the it necessary to apologize. Mr. Willoughby was future, or talking over by-gone times, Grace unusually silent, and the embarrassment of his longed to fling herself upon his neck, or at his manner soon became contagious. At his re feet-so deep was her humility-and tell him of quest, Grace sang one of her favourite songs that one fault which haunted her most whenvery sweetly; while her companion, glancing ever he seemed more than usually kind and around the comfortably-furnished apartment, affectionate. Oh, why were not these impulses and then at the still beautiful face of the fair of the heart obeyed? We should have no conmusician, dreamed a bright hoine-dream of cealments from those we love! and sooner or future happiness.
later every secret is sure to be revealed. Why “ Grace," said he, after a pause, “ I want to not reveal it ourselves, in all gentleness, and talk to you.” It was the third time that morn- with tears, and meek atoning words ? L'nder ing he had said those very words; but the first every circumstance of life it is our best and time he had called her Grace, and her heart beat wisest plan ; situated as they were, it was her quickly The large hands closed upon her duty! "To be sure it was a hard task, for she little trembling ones, that sought not to escape ; well knew that Mr. Willoughby believed her to and the green spectacles being removed, she be faultless ; but to suffer himn to remain in that might have seen tears--real tears--glistening in belief was a species of deceit. the earnest eyes that were bent upon her so A few weeks before the day fixed for the lovingly. And then, in his own simple and wedding, which was to take place at Mrs. Stanmanly way, Mr. Willoughby told her of his ly's, at that lady's own request, Mr. Willoughby affection, and made her an offer of his hand and had occasion to go to London on legal business, heart.
which would most probably detain him some Grace sobbed out something about her own days. It was the first time that the lovers had unworthiness ; but her tearful face was hidden been separated, and poor Grace felt a sad foreupon his shoulder. It was a pity that she was boding of approaching evil, which she could not more explicit ; considering their relative neither explain nor resist. It was only natural, situations, they might have been mere words of under the circumstances, that she should feel course. Mr. Willoughby, as in duty bound, in- melancholy, but not so utterly cast down. Mr. terrupted them with a thousand lover-like pro- Willoughby was touched, and perhaps sometestations; at the conclusion of which, Grace what proud, at witnessing her excessive agitaconfessed herself the happiest girl in the world, tion-it was pleasant to be so loved and missed; and inwardly determined, by the devotion of her and yet he could not bear to be the cause of her future life, to make atonement for the past. It tears, and would willingly have given up the seemed like a dream now, that the time should journey, if it had been possible. They sepaever have been when she loved him not, leave rated at length, with the mutual agreement that alone daring to ridicule and make sport of one they were to hear from each other every day. so good and noble. She felt, in her humility, And Grace endeavoured to divert her mind, by as if she could never do too much for him. taking an active part in the bridal arrangements
The following day Mr. Willoughby called already commenced under the superintendence again when Mrs. Staply was at home, and was of Mrs. Stanly. formally accepted as the betrothed of her young Being, as we have elsewhere noticed, of a refriend, for so Grace Dermott was now termed served disposition, Mr. Willoughby did not Mrs. Stanly knew well the straightforward cha- think it necessary to mention his intended marracter with which she had to deal; and seeing riage to any of his numerous acquaintance; and that he was thoroughly in earnest, could only visiting no one but his lawyer, spent his time congratulate Grace upon her good fortune, very pleasantly in writing long letters to Grace, which, as she was really far from being an illo or indulging bright dreains for the future, in natured woman, she managed with a cordial sin- which she bore the principal part. There was cerity that blotted out for ever all memory of one friend, however, a Mr. Richardson, only the past. Grace was too happy to bear malice. lately married, whose invitation to spend the Most girls, situated as she was, would perhaps evening, and be introduced to the bride, he achave ended in accepting Mr. Willoughby, and cepted at once. He probably felt a new interest married, as thousands do who are more to be in such matters, and was in a humour to sympitied than blamed, for the sake of a home; but pathize with the evident happiness of the deGrace loved him-loved him for his kindness, lighted husband. not for his gold; and was grateful, humble, and Mrs. Richardson, although, in Mr. Willoughaffectionate as a wife should be. Their happi- l by's opinion, not to be compared to Grace, was
Grace Dermott and her One Fault.
pretty and agreeable, and evidently desirous of face of his companion, and was struck with its pleasing her husband's old friend. Two or expression of deep agony. Instead of replying, three people dropped in during the evening, and he only laughed, and called him a cynical old there was some good music and singing, toge- bachelor, pressing him to come again soon. ther with a great deal of political conversation Mr. Willoughby went straight to his lawyer's, between Mr. Richardson and a member of par- late as it was; and the following day, Grace liament, during which Mr. Willoughby quietly received a blank paper containing the caricature, amused himself with one of the journals of the and an annuity of two hundred a-year for life. day, while the ladies laughed and chatted together The marriage was broken off, and he said for at a side-table.
“ So Grace Dermott is going to be married at Poor Grace! her punishment seemed greater last," observed one.
than she could bear, and for some days her life Mr. Willoughby gave a sudden start at the was despaired of. Mrs. Stanly wondered at rename, but no one noticed him.
ceiving no answer from Mr. Willoughby to her Yes, so I understand," replied Mrs. Rich- numerous letters on the subject; until hearing ardson. “Is it a good match ?"
by chance that he also was dangerously ill, the “ I do not know, not having as yet heard any circumstance was more than explained. She of the particulars."
thought it best to tell Grace this when she got a Mr. Willoughby felt nervous and uncom- little better, in order to account for her lover's fortable.
absence. “ Misa Dermott was an old schoolfellow of “Is he very ill ?" asked the poor girl, mine," continued the bride, “and one of the “ Yes, I suppose so, or he would certainly cleverest girls I ever knew. We used to cor- have written. Indeed I heard from good authorespond, but somehow it dropped off after her rity that he was quite delirious, and knows no poor father died, and she went away no one
It would be a sad thing for you, my dear, knew where. She was admirable at a carica- if anything were to happen to him." ture; and had a brilliant wit, that spared neither “ God forbid !" exclaimed Grace. friend nor foe."
The following day she was nowhere to be “ Rather a dangerous qualification in a found. She had gone to London to help nurse woman,” observed her companion. Mr. Wilo Mr. Willoughby; but although he kept contiloughby thought so too.
nually calling upon her name, he knew her not, “ Poor Grace! she did not mean any harm; or who it was watched unceasingly day and but I do not really think she could help taking night by his sick couch. After a time, the viopeople off. I have one of her sketches, which lence of the fever somewhat abated, and the is positively inimitable !” Here they lowered invalid recovered his senses we fear without gratheir voices, and conversed together in whis- titude to God or hope for the future. Weary pers; until startled by the sudden appearance with watching, Grace had fallen asleep by the of Mr. Willoughby looking pale, and greatly agi- bed-side ; and when Mr. Willoughby turned and tated. Mrs. Richardson likewise changed colour, saw her pale face, he thought himself again deand hastily thrust aside the drawing before her. lirious. The motion, slight as it was, aroused
“ I should like to look at it, if you will per- her ; but fearful of the least agitation in his premit me,” said her guest, in a calm voice, while sent weak state, she only bent over and kissed his quick eye singled out his own caricature, his damp brow. drawn with such admirable fidelity, that, as Speak to me!" exclaimed the sick man. Grace had once said, it only needed to look at “ Or is this only a dream?” the hands, to recognize it in an instant.
“ It is no dream, dearest, but your poor Mrs. Richardson apologized with much good Grace come to nurse you, if you will let her, nature for the pain which she had so thought- and to ask forgiveness upon her knees for all lessly given, although she little guessed its ex. that she has made you suffer!" tent.
Mr. Willoughby listened eagerly to her excul“ Nay, it is nothing-I am used to these pation of herself to her deep penitence; interthings. The artist, I think you id, was a rupting her to own that he had been too hasty young lady?"
in judging her as he had done. Their recon“ Pardon me, Mr. Willoughby, but I must not ciliation followed quite naturally; and Grace tell you anything more.”
covered the dear hands, which she had dared to The initials, G. D., on the back of the draw- ridicule, with her tears and kisses. Mr. Wiling, rendered it unnecessary; and Mr. Willoughby was the first to think of the impropriety loughby, having succeeded in persuading her to of her presence alone and unattended; and imgive it to him—which she did very willingly, mediately sent off for his old aunt, Bridget thinking he wanted to burn it, and half re- Wentworth, to whom, with her consent, he congretting that it had not been destroyed years fided the whole affair. Aunt Bridget came at ago-shortly afterwards took his leave. Mr. once; condoled with her nephew; scolded and Richardson followed him to the door, to ask caressed his betrothed alternately, and soon set him what he thought of his wife.
all to rights in her own kind and simple way. “ She is a woman,” replied his guest, bit- Why did you not write to me at once ?" terly; "and they are all fair and false !"
said she to Grace. Mr. Richardson looked hard into the pale “Ah! how gladly would I have done so.
But you forget that I did not know you then." Of limiting outer sight; and one of these
He makes his spirit-love-50 wooing her ladies to outrage every sense of propriety, and
As one may woo bis star of destinies, set the world at defiance in this manner.
With an idolatry that keeps astir " He was all the world to me!” replied Fit time for prowling passion to intrude,
With fever his new blood : Grace. “Well
, well, do not cry, child, it cannot be And scatter aspics where young doves did brood ! helped now-but another time
The Tempter came : like truth he spoke-like worth "Oh, Aunt Bridget!” interrupted Mr. Wil- And wisdom preach'd, or reason'd; Beauty, too, loughby, “just as if we should ever quarrel Clothed the foul spirit in fair form of flesh ; again!"
And subtle falsehoods, softly chaunted forth, I hope not indeed; and the best preventive Seem'd just the long'd-for learning that should strew is to have no more secrets or concealments." The boy's track with knowledge. In the mesh “ No, never,” said Grace; “never, as long as
Of sophistry his bird-like spirit daily we live !"
Entangleth itself-nor longer gaily A few weeks after this conversation they Doubts and dark fears, like caustic drops that fall
The lark sings in his ears--the flowers bloom by !were married, and Aunt Bridget was present. Slowly, but surely, from a poisonous wall, The Stanlys were invited to the wedding, and To taint a rose beneath it, dangerously entertained with a cheerful hospitality that effec- Thicken within his mind. The God of love tually served to banish every unpleasant recol- Behind yon sun becomes-he knows not what ! lection. The first intimation which Mrs. Rich- A shade-a bigot's dream-an aimless nought ! ardson received of the mischief she had so nearly And Love itself a passion, borne above and innocently caused, came in the shape of On sensual wings, that flap like vultures o'er cards and cake from the new married pair. Things that were hated, if but known before ! Years afterwards, they all laughed together over And he hath turn'd voluptuary in thoughtthe whole occurrence; but there were tears in
(Thank God, not yet in act !) but he is out the eyes of poor Grace, and a feeling of self- of his fair sphere of purity, afloat reproach in her heart, which Mr. Willoughby's
In passion's barque upon a sea of doubt! kindness could never utterly efface.
He learns that there is sin-one beautiful!
Sad learning and sad lesson !-Ile no more
Sees beauty all around; on sea or shore,
A mist perradeth that makes all things dull
That once were bright. The spotted snake (Written after having read Miss Lynn's magnificent Looks not so harmless in the brake; Romance of “Azeth, the Egyptian.'')
Still is it fair-but it may bite
From yonder bush, but dread to slake
Thy thirst-dash, dash it far from sight, When youth is sanctified by holy airs
For it may poison! and yon apple, lo! That breathe not of the sick world's treachery ;
How soon to ashes in thy lips 'twill grow!
Love's impress on her bosom. Earth But suns, that ripen richness, rot rank growih-
And Falsehood hath no strength tocope with TruthAnd yet within his heart there is a dearth !
The east wind blows not ever- from the south He loveth all! and all things that be fair
Time brings forth zephyrs full of health and ruth: Are dearer for their fairness-for his path
So came RE-ACTION-60 Vice wore its own Hath never yet been cross'd
Fonl livery of sin, abhorr'd when known ! By any spirit of wrath,
Virtue within the Boy was not extinct, Or incarnation of the Demon-toss'd
Though quell'd by evil influence ; Beauty, still, Into a shape of ugliness; nor e'er
Could charm as much as ever; and unlink'd Hath sorrow stung him into sighis! What, then, With physical defect, Love's holy thrill Panteth that heart of sixteen summers for ?
Pervades his heart: the beautiful, the pure, Gazeth that mild dark eye in search of ? stretcheth Arouse emotions, which--bestow'd to blessThat warm and generous hand to soothe and press ? | The world's ungenial nature renders donors Those lips--still longing in sleep's tenderness
Of falsest cruelty for tenderness,
But Love-how blest a thing 'twixt hearts, both To dwell on and caress?
pure, As doth the bee
As his--our Azeth's-and that Spiritual One The thyme-bank in the glen;
Who hath his highest worship !-Death, be sure,
Makes sweeter bridal-beds than ever sun
Of earth looks down upon! And so, when she
Flitted from life away-an exhalation Ile loves the beautiful, he loves the true,
Of grace and virtue-up into the shies He loves the sunshine and its skies of blue,
Hle, too, beholding where the vision flies, Warmth, and green shade, and perfume, and sweet And knecling in a silent adoration, sounds;
Gave up, his soul to death ... too pure to sate But (for he knows there is a God on high,
Earth's thirsts from earthly wells ! too passionate A Father and a Friend) his inner eye
To live unloved, unloving! Lo, he goeth Looketh at forms whose fairness leaps the bounds Where I loly Love its sum of loving knoweth !
BY CALDER CAMPBELL.