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Title: The Barbadoes Girl - A Tale for Young People
Author: Hofland, Mrs.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration]


                      THE

                BARBADOES GIRL.

            A Tale for Young People.


                BY MRS. HOFLAND.

                   AUTHOR OF

THE CLERGYMAN'S WIDOW; THE SISTERS; BLIND FARMER;
   AFFECTIONATE BROTHERS; ELLEN THE TEACHER;
      GOOD GRANDMOTHER; MERCHANT'S WIDOW;
               ETC., ETC., ETC.

              *       *       *

The indulgence of passion makes bitter work for repentance, and produces a
feeble old age.                                                 BACON.

As violent contrary winds endanger a ship, so it is with turbulent emotions
in the mind; whereas such as are favourable awaken the understanding, keep
in motion the will, and make the whole man more vigorous.       ADDISON.

              *       *       *

          _A NEW EDITION, REVISED._

                   BOSTON:
             CHASE AND NICHOLS,
            43 WASHINGTON STREET.
                    1863.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BARBADOES GIRL.

CHAPTER I.


As Mr. Harewood was one evening sitting with his wife and children, he told
them that he expected soon to receive among them the daughter of a friend,
who had lately died in the West Indies.

Mr. Harewood's family consisted of his wife, two sons, and a daughter: the
eldest, named Edmund, was about twelve years of age; Charles, the second,
was scarcely ten; and Ellen, the daughter, had just passed her eighth
birthday: they were all sensible, affectionate children, but a little
different in disposition, the eldest being grave and studious, the second
lively and active, and as he was nearer to Ellen's age, she was often
inclined to romp with him, when she should have minded her book; but she
was so fond of her mamma, and was educated with such a proper sense of the
duty and obedience she owed her, that a word or a look never failed to
restrain the exuberance of her spirits.

Children are alike naturally curious and fond of society; the moment,
therefore, Mr. Harewood mentioned their expected guest, every one had
some question to ask respecting her; but as Ellen's was uttered with most
mildness and modesty, she was first answered; and her brother Charles,
taking this hint, listened quietly to the following conversation, not
joining in it, till he felt that he had a right to do so, from having
practised a forbearance that cost him some effort.

_Ellen._--Pray, papa, what is this little girl's name, and how old is she?

_Father._--She is called Matilda Sophia Hanson: her father was a man of
good fortune, and she is an only child; I believe, however, his affairs are
in an unsettled state, as her mother is under the necessity of remaining
some time in the country, in order to settle them. It is at her earnest
request that I have been prevailed upon to accept the charge of her
daughter. I believe she is about a year younger than you; but as the growth
of people in warm countries is more rapid than in this, I expect to see her
quite as tall and forward as you, Ellen.

_Ellen._--But, dear papa, how will she get here from a place on the other
side of the globe? I mean, who will bring her? for I know, of course, that
she must come in a ship.

_Father._--She will be attended by a negro servant, who has always waited
upon her; and who will return after she is safely landed, I suppose.

_Ellen._--Poor thing! how she will cry when she leaves her own dear mamma,
when she is to cross the wide sea! and then again, when she parts with her
good nurse; I dare say she will kiss her very fondly, though she is a
black.

_Charles._--Oh, she will forget her sorrow when she sees so many things
that are quite new to her. I'm afraid she'll think Ellen, and us boys, very
silly, ignorant creatures, compared to her, who has seen so much of the
world: upon my word, we must be all upon our good behaviour.

_Father._--I hope you will behave well, not merely from conscious
inferiority, but because you would be both impolite and unkind, if you
omitted any thing in your power that could render a stranger happy, who is
so entirely thrown upon our protection--one, too, who has lost a fond
father, and is parted from a tender mother.

_Edmund._--But, papa, as Miss Hanson is coming to England for education,
and is yet very young, surely Charles must be wrong in supposing that she
is wiser, or, I ought to say, better informed, than we are, since it is
utterly improbable that she should have had the benefit of such
instructions as we have enjoyed.

_Father._--True, my dear; but yet she will, of course, be acquainted with
many things to which you are necessarily entire strangers, although I must
remark that Charles's expression, "she has seen much of the world," is not
proper; for it is only applied to people who have mixed much with
society--not to those whose travels have shown them only land and water.
However, coming from a distant country, a society very different from ours,
and people to whom you are strangers, she cannot fail to possess many ideas
and much knowledge which are unknown to you; I therefore hope her residence
with us for a time will prove mutually advantageous; but if the advantage
should prove to be on your side, I trust you will never abuse it by
laughing, or in any way insulting and teazing your visitant; such conduct
would ensure most serious displeasure.

_Mother._--It would prove them not only very ignorant, and deficient in the
education which even savages give their children, but prove that they were
devoid of that spirit of courtesy which is recommended in the Scriptures,
and which every Christian child will nourish in his heart and display in
his manners: the same holy apostle, who inculcated the highest doctrines of
his Divine Master, says also--"Be affable, be courteous, bearing one with
another."

The children for a few moments looked very serious, and each appeared to be
inwardly making some kind of promise or resolution to themselves respecting
the expected stranger: at length, Ellen, looking up, said to her mamma,
with great earnestness--"Indeed, mamma, I will love Miss Hanson as much as
if she were my sister, if she will permit me to do it."

"You had better say, Ellen, that you will be as kind to her as if she were
your sister; for until we know more of her, it is not possible for us to
promise so much; nor is it advisable to give our hearts at first sight,
even to those who have yet stronger claims upon our good will and friendly
services."

Mr. Harewood added his approbation of this sentiment, for he knew it was
one that could not be repeated too often to young people, who are ever apt
to take up either partialities or prejudices too strongly, and whose
judgment has ever occasion for the attempering lessons of experience.



CHAPTER II.


At length the long-wished-for day arrived, and the young foreigner made her
appearance in the family of Mr. Harewood. She was a fine, handsome-looking
girl, and though younger in fact, was taller and older-looking than Ellen,
but was not nearly so well shaped, as indolence, and the habit of being
carried about instead of walking, had occasioned her to stoop, and to move
as if her limbs were too weak to support her.

The kindness and politeness with which she was received in the family of
Mr. Harewood, did not appear to affect the Barbadoes girl in any other
way than to increase that self-importance which was evidently her
characteristic; and even the mild, affectionate Ellen, who had predisposed
her heart to love her very dearly, shrunk from the proud and haughty
expression which frequently animated her features, and was surprised to
hear her name her mamma with as much indifference as if she were a common
acquaintance; for Ellen did not know that the indulgence of bad passions
hardens the heart, and renders it insensible to those sweet and tender ties
which are felt by the good and amiable, and which constitute their highest
happiness.

In a very short time, it became apparent that passion and peevishness were
also the traits of this unfortunate child, who had been indulged in the
free exercise of a railing tongue, and even of a clawing hand, towards
the numerous negro dependants that swarmed in her father's mansion, over
whom she had exercised all the despotic sovereignty of a queen, with the
capriciousness of a petted child, and thereby obtained a habit of tyranny
over all whom she deemed her inferiors, as appeared from the style in which
she now conducted herself constantly towards the menials of Mr. Harewood's
family, and not unfrequently towards the superiors.

For a few days Mr. Harewood bore with this conduct, and only opposed
it with gentleness and persuasion; but as it became evident that this
gentleness emboldened the mistaken child to proceed to greater rudeness, he
commenced a new style of treatment, and the English education of Matilda,
so far as concerned that most important part of all education, the
management of the temper, in the following manner:

On the family being seated at the dinner-table, Miss Hanson called out, in
a loud and angry tone, "Give me some beer!"

Mr. Harewood had previously instructed the servant who waited upon them how
to act, in case he was thus addressed; and in consequence of his master's
commands, the man took no notice whatever of this claim upon his attention.

"Give me some beer!" cried she again, in so fierce a manner that the boys
started, and poor Ellen blushed very deeply, not only from the sense of
shame which she felt for the vulgarity of the young lady's manners, but
from a kind of terror, on hearing such a shrill and threatening voice.

The servant still took no notice of her words, though he did not do it with
an air of defiance, but rather as if it were not addressed to him.

The little angry child muttered, loud enough to be heard--"What a fool the
wretch is!" but as nobody answered what was in fact addressed to no one,
she was at length compelled to look for redress to Mrs. Harewood, whom,
regarding with a mixture of rage and scorn, she now addressed--"Pray,
ma'am, why don't _you_ tell the man to give me some beer? I suppose he'll
understand _you_, though he seems a fool, and deaf."

"My children are accustomed to say--'Please, Thomas, give me some beer;'
or, 'I'll thank you for a little beer;' and the loud rude manner in which
you spoke, probably astonished and confused him. As, however, I certainly
understand you, I will endeavour to relieve you.--Pray, Thomas, be so kind
as to give Miss Hanson some beer," said Mrs. Harewood.

Thomas instantly offered it; but the little girl cried out in a rage--"I
won't have it--no! that I won't, from that man: I'll have my own negro to
wait--that I will!--Must I say _please_ to a servant? must a nasty man in
a livery be _kind_ to me?--no! no! no! Zebby, Zebby, I say, come here!"

The poor black woman, hearing the loud tones of her young lady, to which
she had been pretty well used, instantly ran into the room, before Mr.
Harewood had time to prevent it, and very humbly cried out--"What does
Missy please wanty?"

"Some beer, you black beetle!"

"Is, Missy," said the poor woman, with a sigh, reaching the beer from
Thomas with a trembling hand, as if she expected the glass to be thrown
in her face.

Charles had with great difficulty refrained from laughter on the outset of
this scene; but indignation now suffused his countenance. The young vixen
was an acute observer, and, had she not been cruelly neglected, might have
been a sensible child. It instantly struck her, that his features disputed
her right; and, determined not to endure this from any one, she instantly
threw the beer in the face of poor Zebby, saying--"There's that for _you_,
madam."

It was not in the forbearance of the children to repress their feelings;
even Edmund exclaimed--"What a brute!"

Ellen involuntarily started up, and hid her face in her mother's lap, while
Charles most good-naturedly offered his handkerchief to the aggrieved
Zebby, kindly condoling with her on her misfortune.

Mr. Harewood now, for the first time, spoke.--"Zebby," said he, in a calm
but stern tone, "it is my strict command, that so long as you reside under
my roof, you never give that young lady any thing again, nor hold any
conversation with her: if you disobey my commands, I shall be under the
necessity of discharging you."

The young lady checked herself, and for a moment looked alarmed; but
recovering, she said--"She is not _yours_, and you sha'n't discharge her:
she is my _own_ slave, and I will do what I please with her; poor papa
bought her for me, as soon as I was born, and I'll use her as I please."

"But you know your mamma told you, that as soon as she arrived in England
she would be _free_, and might either return or remain, as _she_ pleased.
Now it so happens that she is much pleased with my family, and having a
sincere regard for your mother, she this morning requested Mrs. Harewood
to engage her in any service she could undertake: convinced that she was
worthy our protection, we have done this, and therefore all _your_ claims
upon her are over."

The little girl, bursting into a passionate flood of tears, ran out of the
room.

Poor Zebby, courtesying, said--"Sir, me hopes you will have much pity on
Missy--she was spoily all her life, by poor massa--her mamma good, very
good; and when Missy pinch Zebby, and pricky with pin, then good mississ
she be angry; but massa say only--'Poo! poo! she be child--naughty tricks
wear off in time.' He be warm man himself."

The poor negro's defence affected the little circle, and Mr. Harewood
observing it, said--"You perceive, my dear children, that this child is
in fact far more an object of compassion than blame, for she has been
permitted to indulge every bad propensity of her nature, and their growth
has destroyed that which was good; of course, her life has been unhappy in
itself, yet punishment has not produced amendment. Poor thing! how many of
the sweetest pleasures of existence are unknown to her! She is a stranger
to the satisfaction of obliging others, and to the consciousness of
overcoming herself, which, I trust, you all know to be an inestimable
blessing. I truly pity her; but I am compelled to treat her as if I blamed
her only; I am obliged to be harsh, in order that I may be useful, and give
pain to produce ease."

In about an hour, finding that no one approached, and feeling the want of
the dinner her shameful rudeness and petulance had interrupted, and which
she had but just begun, Matilda came down stairs, with the air of a person
who is struggling to hide, by effrontery, the chagrin she is conscious of
deserving: no person took any notice of her entrance, and all appearance
of the good meal she wanted was removed. There was a certain something in
the usually-smiling faces of the heads of the mansion that acted as a
repellent to her, and she sat for some time silent; but at length she spoke
to Ellen, who, from her gentle meekness, was ever easy of access, and whom,
intending to mortify, she accosted thus--"Nelly, did you eat my chicken?"

Charles burst into a loud laugh, as Ellen, who had never heard herself thus
addressed, for a moment looked rather foolish; on which he answered for
her, with a somewhat provoking sauciness of countenance--"No, Matty, she
did not eat your chicken."

"My name is not Matty--it is Matilda Sophia, and you are a great booby for
calling me so; but Nelly, or Nell, is short for Ellen, and by one of those
names I shall call her, whenever I choose, if it be only to vex _you_."

"Perhaps, too, you will choose to prick her, and pinch her, Miss Matilda
Sophia Hanson?" answered Charles, sneeringly, drawing out her name as long
and as pompously as it was possible.

"Fie, Charles!" said Edmund; "I am sure you act as if you had forgotten all
that papa told us about Miss Hanson."

Charles, after a moment's thought, acknowledged that he was wrong, very,
very wrong.

Matilda was much struck with this; she was well aware that, under the
same circumstances, she should have said much more than he had, and she was
curious as to what had been said of her, which could have produced this
effect on a boy generally so vivacious and warm-tempered as Charles. After
cogitating upon it some time, she at length concluded that Mr. Harewood had
endeavoured to impress on the minds of his family the consequence she
possessed, as an only child and a great heiress; and although he had
appeared so lately to act under a very different impression, yet it was
very possible that he had only done so because he was out of temper
himself, and, now his mind was become tranquil again, he had repented of
his conduct, and been anxious to prevent his children from following his
example in this respect.

The more Matilda thought of this, the more fully she fixed it in her mind
as an article of belief; but yet there was something in the calm, firm
tones of Mr. Harewood, when he spoke to her, and in his present open, yet
unbending countenance, when he happened to cast his eyes towards her, which
rendered her unsatisfied with the answer she thus gave her own internal
inquiries; and although she had been exceedingly angry with him, for
presuming to speak to her, she yet felt as if his esteem, and indeed his
forgiveness, were necessary for her happiness; and her pride, thus
strengthened, contended with her fears and consciousness of guilt and
folly; and while she resolved inwardly to keep up her dignity with the
young ones, she yet, from time to time, cast an anxious eye towards her
new monitor.

In a short time, to Matilda's great relief, Mr. Harewood stepped into
the library to get a book; and the children, in the hope that, when he
returned, he would kindly indulge them, either by reading to them, or
relating occasionally such anecdotes or observations as the work he read
might furnish him with, left their seats, and pressed round the place
where their parents were sitting.

Matilda did not like to be left alone, nor did she feel as if she had a
right to be held as a child among the rest: again her pride and her
repentance had a great struggle, and she knew not to which she should give
the preference, for her heart swelled alike with pride and sorrow; she
moved towards the same place, and sought, in the bustle of the moment, to
divert the painful feeling which oppressed her.

In a few moments, Mr. Harewood was heard to shut the library-door; and as,
of course, he might be expected to re-enter very soon, and would now be
much nearer to her than he had been, and would certainly adopt some more
decided kind of conduct and language towards her, Matilda became again
extremely desirous of knowing what he really had said about her, and she
two or three times essayed to speak; but a little remaining modesty, which
was nearly all the good which her unhappy education had left her, prevented
her, until she found that she had no time beyond the present instant left
for satisfying her curiosity on so important a point, when, in a
considerable flutter of spirits, she whispered to Ellen, but in a voice
sufficiently articulate to be heard by others--"Pray what did your papa say
of me?"

"That you were very much to be pitied."

"Pitied! Pray what am I to be pitied for?"

Ellen blushed very deeply: she could not answer a question which called
down confusion on the head of her who asked it--one, too, whom she was
inclined to love, and whose petulance towards herself, however unprovoked,
she had already forgiven. She looked wistfully in the face of her mamma,
who replied for her--"We all think you are much to be pitied, because you
are evidently a poor, little, forlorn, ignorant child, without friends, and
under the dominion of a cruel enemy, that renders you so frightful, it is
scarcely possible for even the most humane people to treat you with
kindness, or even endure you."

Matilda involuntarily started up, and examined herself in the
looking-glass.--"If I had happened to be your _own_ daughter, ma'am," she
said, crying again, "you would not have thought me ugly; but because I come
from Barbadoes, you don't like me; and it is cruel and wicked to treat me
so. But I will go back--I will--I will."

"I wish most sincerely you had never come, for it is painful to me to
witness the folly and sin you are guilty of; but, since you are here, I
will endeavour to bear with you, until I have found a good school to send
you to. If you would give yourself time to consider, you would know that
the enemy I spoke of is your own temper, which would render even perfect
beauty hideous; you know very well that I received you with the greatest
kindness, and that you have outraged that kindness. But I can forgive you,
because I see that you are a silly child, who fancies herself of
importance; whereas children, however they may be situated, are poor
dependent creatures."

Matilda answered only by a scornful toss of her head, and uttering the
word--"Dependent!"

"Edmund," said Mrs. Harewood, taking no notice of her insolent look, "you
are a strong healthy boy, forward in your education, capable of reflection,
and decidedly superior, not only in age, but wisdom, to any other in
the room; answer me candidly, as if you were speaking to a boy like
yourself--Do you feel it possible so to conduct yourself, that, if you
were left alone in the world, you could be happy and independent?"

"My dear mamma," said Edmund, "you must be laughing at me; a pretty figure
I should cut, if I were to set up for a man, without any one to advise me
how to act, to tell me when I was wrong, and to manage every thing for me!
how could I do right without my papa, or some proper guardian? and how
could I be happy without you, mamma?"

As Edmund spoke, he threw his arms round his mother; and the others
followed his example, saying--"No, no, we could do nothing without you
and dear papa; pray do stay with us, and make us good."

As they spoke, the tears were in their eyes, and Matilda was affected: she
remembered the tenderness of her own mother, and how often she had turned
a deaf ear to her expostulations. She was convinced that these children, at
this very time, enjoyed a sweeter pleasure than she had ever experienced
from the gratification of her desires, and she even longed to confess her
folly, and gain her share of Mrs. Harewood's caresses; but pride still
struggled in her heart; and though her reason was convinced of the truth,
that children are indeed dependent on their friends for all that renders
life valuable, yet her temper still got the better, and she resolutely held
her tongue, though she ceased to look haughty and ill-humoured.



CHAPTER III.


This interesting display of natural feelings was interrupted by the hasty
re-entrance of Mr. Harewood, followed by Betty, the housemaid, who, in
entering the door in a hurry, had fallen down a step, and hurt her
forehead, and was now brought forward by her good master, to claim the
assistance of her kind and skilful mistress.

The children were full of concern and condolence with Betty, and with great
tenderness shrunk when they saw their mamma bathe her forehead with
vinegar, as they knew it must smart exceedingly: and Ellen could not help
saying--"How good Betty is! she never says oh!"

"No, Miss," said Betty, "I know your mamma does it for my good; and though
she gives me some pain, yet she saves me from a great deal more."

In a few minutes, Betty declared the smarting was quite gone; and the
children were so glad, that Matilda began to think, though they were
foolish, yet they were certainly happy, and she wished she could feel
as happy as they did.

When Betty was gone, the tea came in, and Mrs. Harewood ordered a large
plate of toast, as she recollected Matilda's scanty dinner. Thomas once
handed it all round, and Mr. Harewood then said--"Set it down; when the
children want it, they will ask you for it."

All the children remembered poor Matilda's wants, and in order that she
might have plenty, without any more being ordered, or any thing in
reference to the past being mentioned, with true delicacy of feeling,
forbore to eat any more, so that Matilda could not repeat their words in
asking, which she now determined to do. She was very hungry, and the toast
looked very tempting, as it stood before the fire.

Matilda looked at the toast, and then at the footman; her cheek glowed, her
eye was subdued, but her tongue did not move. Thomas, however, handed her
the toast, and she then articulately said--"Thank you."

This was heard, but no notice was taken; they knew that much false shame
attends the first efforts to subdue pride and passion, and they feared lest
even approbation should be misconstrued.

In order to divert the general attention, Mrs. Harewood said--"I forgot to
ask Betty what made her run in such a hurry as to occasion her accident,
for I gave her leave to go out, and stay till nine o'clock, and it is only
seven now, I believe."

"I believe, madam," said Thomas, very respectfully, "she came home in
haste, because her sister has twins; and as you promised her some caudle,
she came to tell the cook to make it, and likewise to get some little
matter of clothing, from her own clothes, for the baby that is
unprovided."

"Poor woman!" said Mrs. Harewood; "we must all help; this little stranger
has a claim on us."

Ellen clapped her hands--"Oh, mamma, may I make it a nightcap?"

"Yes, my dear; I will get some old linen, and cut out a few things, after
tea."

"I will give you a crown, my dear," said Mr. Harewood; "as I cannot assist
in sewing, I must help to buy needles and thread."

"And I will give you a shilling, mamma," said Edmund, "if you please."

"Oh dear," said Charles, "I am very sorry, but I have only fourpence,
because I spent all my money on my new kite; but if that will do any good,
mamma----"

"It will do good, Charles, and I will not grieve you by refusing it,
because I see you are sorry that you have no more, which will teach you
another time to be provident, and then you will not be under the necessity
of giving your last farthing, or refusing to be charitable, when such a
case occurs again."

Ellen handed Charles's fourpence to her mamma; and as she did so, she put a
sixpence between the pence, so as not to be seen by Matilda, lest it should
seem like a reproach to her; and as she slipped the whole into her mother's
hand, she said--"I hope, mamma, you will be so good as to let Miss Hanson
make a little cap for the baby?"

"I don't like to sew," said Matilda, rising; "at least not such things as
these: I think a bit of calico to wrap the pickaninnies in is the best, and
I'll give that to buy some with."

As she spoke she threw half-a-guinea on the table, with the air of one
desirous of exhibiting both generosity and wealth, and looked round with an
eye that asked for admiration.

No notice was taken. Mrs. Harewood opening her own purse, took out
half-a-crown, and then counted all that she had got. In doing it, Ellen
perceived not her sixpence, and she then, with modesty, but without any
shame, said--"I believe my sixpence must have slipped down."

"I did not know you gave me one, child."

"Yes, but she did, for I saw her," said Mr. Harewood, "though she was not
aware that I did. She gave it in silence, not from affectation, but a kind
motive towards one who could not appreciate it; but we will say no more on
this point. Ellen, you have gratified your father: I see in your conduct
the germ of a gentlewoman, and, what is infinitely more precious, of a
Christian."

Ellen sprung to her father's arms, and in his affectionate kiss found a
rich reward.

For a moment, Matilda thought to herself, what a piece of work is here
about sixpence, while they take no notice at all of a bright golden
half-guinea! but still her understanding combated this thought, for she
knew that all the present company saw beyond the surface, and estimated
the gift according to the spirit of the donor.

Betty now came in, and Mrs. Harewood gave her the money, telling her to buy
some frocks with it. Observing the servant eye the half-guinea, she
said--"_That_ was the gift of Miss Hanson; she is very rich, it seems, and
gives out of her abundance. I am sure you will be grateful to _her_; but if
your fellow-servants, Betty, should spare, out of the little time they
have, enough to assist you in the making of these things, they will be the
best friends you meet with; for labour is much greater charity than money."

Betty replied, that she was much obliged to all her friends, both above and
below, and especially to poor Zebby, who had offered, with her lady's
leave, to sit up all night with her sister.

"She has not only my leave, but my approbation, especially as your accident
has rendered you unable. Tell Zebby I will spare her for a week, on this
truly charitable occasion."

With many thanks, Betty withdrew, and Ellen was soon, like her mamma, busy
with her needle. Mr. Harewood, drawing a celestial globe towards him, began
to give his sons some instruction, which interested them exceedingly; all
were employed, all happy, but Matilda, whose uneasiness was in fact
considerably augmented by the idea of Zebby leaving the house; for though
she used her ill, she had a regard for her, the extent of which she was not
aware of till now that her heart was a little softened, and her judgment
enlightened, by the transactions of the day.

After fidgeting about for some time, she at length took up a needle and
threaded it, and then drawing more timidly towards Mrs. Harewood, she
said--"I don't mind if I do sew a little bit."

Eager to seize upon any good symptom, Mrs. Harewood gave her a little cap,
carefully doubled down, saying--"You see this is double; in these
countries, the babies, or pickaninnies, as you call them, must be kept
warm."

"I called that woman's twins pickaninnies, because I thought she was
poor--a kind of servant; we do not call white children so--only little
negroes."

"They are all the same with us, and will be so with you, I hope, by and by;
indeed they always were with sensible good people. But, Matilda, what long
stitches you are taking! I shall have all your work to pick out again."

"I believe I cannot sew, indeed."

"So it appears; nor can you play a tune, nor read a French lesson, nor
write, nor draw: poor little girl! you have a great deal to learn: but,
however, keep up your spirits; if you are diligent and tractable, you will
conquer all your difficulties; humility and industry will enable you to
learn every thing."

"How very strange it is," said Matilda to herself, "that these people
appear to pity me, instead of envying me, as they used to do in Barbadoes,
and as I thought they would do here! besides, they are not angry with me,
even when they find fault with me, and they seem to wish me to be good for
the sake of being happy."

These thoughts somewhat soothed the perturbed bosom of the poor child until
the hour of rest, when the remembrance of the good-tempered negro's
destination rose to her mind, and she lamented her absence, and blamed her
exceedingly for leaving _her_ to go after a woman she had never seen in her
life: but the next day, it was apparent that the lesson she had received
was not lost upon her; she appeared ashamed of her ignorance, and willing
to learn; and as all her young friends were very willing to instruct her,
in whatever they had the power, she soon began to make some progress in her
education; she was a child of good capacity, and, when roused to exertion,
unusually quick; and being at an age when the mind expands quickly, it was
no wonder that she soon gave evident marks of improvement. It was observed,
that as her mind became enlightened, her manners were softened, and her
petulance less obtrusive, though she was seen to suffer daily from the
habitual violence of her temper, and the disposition to insolence, which
unchecked power is so apt to foster in young minds.

Mrs. Harewood found the care of Matilda greatly increase her task of
managing her family, as one naughty child frequently makes another, by
raising up a spirit of contention and ill-humour; and Charles was so
frequently led into sallies of passion, or tempted to ridicule the fault in
his new companion, that his parents often lamented that they had accepted
such a burdensome charge: but when they saw any symptoms of improvement in
her, they were ever happy to foster the good seed; and in the consciousness
that they were not only raising up a human mind to virtue and happiness,
but preparing an immortal soul for heaven, they thought little of their own
trouble, and were even truly thankful that she had been intrusted to their
careful examination and affectionate discipline.



CHAPTER IV.


At the end of the week, Zebby came home, according to appointment; and
having paid her respects to her excellent lady, she ran up stairs, and
entered the apartment where the two young ladies were getting the tasks
assigned them by Mrs. Harewood. When Matilda first beheld her she had a
great inclination to embrace her, for her heart bounded towards the only
creature she had been acquainted with from her cradle; but she suddenly
checked herself, and pretended to continue her reading; but Ellen spoke to
her kindly, though she told her that she was so situated, as not to be able
to chat at present.

Zebby comprehended this, and would have withdrawn; but not to have a single
word from her, whom in her heart, she still considered as her young
mistress, the faithful creature could not endure; after waiting some
minutes in vain, she dropped a second humble courtesy, and said--"How you
do, Missy? me very glad see you larn booky, but me hopes you spare one
look, one wordy, for poor Zebby; me go away one long weeky, to nurse white
man baby, pretty as you, Missy."

"Yes," said Matilda, reproachingly, "you went away and left me very
willingly, though it was to wait on a person you never saw before."

"Ah, Missy! you no lovee me, and poor white woman lovee me much. You makee
beer spit in my face--she givee me tea-gruel out of her own cup. You callee
me black beetle--she callee me good girly, good nursy, good every ting."

Matilda gave a deep sigh; she well remembered that it was on the very day
of her outrage that Zebby had quitted her, and in her altered sense of
justice, she could not help seeing the truth of the poor negro's statement;
she looked up, with an ingenuous sense of error depicted on her
countenance, and said--"I am sorry, Zebby, that I used you so ill, but I
will never do it again."

The poor African was absolutely astonished, for never had the voice of
concession been heard from the lips of Matilda before, even to her own
parents; and the idea of her humility and kindness in this acknowledgment
so deeply affected the faithful creature, that, after gazing at her in
admiration for a moment, she burst into tears, and then clasping her hands,
she exclaimed, in a broken manner--"Oh, tankee God! tankee God! pretty
Missy be good girly at last! her lovee her good mamma--her pity poor
negro--her go up stair when her die. Oh, me be so glad! great God lovee my
dear Missy now!"

Matilda felt the tears suffuse her own eyes, as the kind heart of her late
faithful slave thus gave vent to its natural and devout emotions; and she
gave her hand to Zebby, who kissed it twenty times. Ellen was so delighted
with this proof of good disposition in Matilda, and with the honest
effusions of the poor negro, that she could not forbear gratifying her own
affectionate little heart, by running to tell her dear mamma, who truly
rejoiced in every proof of Matilda's amendment, and doubted not but it
would prove the forerunner of virtue, in a child who appeared convinced of
her faults, and desirous of improving herself.

It was now near Christmas, and Mrs. Harewood was inquiring for a
boarding-school where she could place Miss Hanson. She would have
preferred to keep her at home, and have a governess, who might attend to
the instructions necessary both for her and Ellen; but the bad temper and
insolent airs of Matilda had prevented this, as Mrs. Harewood could not
bear the idea of subjecting an amiable young person, whom she designed for
that situation, to be tormented with such a girl. She knew that, in
schools, two faults seldom fail to be cured: these are impertinence, or
insolence, and affectation--one rendering a person disagreeable, the other
ridiculous; and every member in the community of which a school consists,
is ready to assist the ruler in punishing the one, and laughing at the
other.

One morning, when Matilda got out of bed, she went to look whether the
morning was fine, and the moment she got to the window, eagerly cried out,
in great surprise--"Ellen, Ellen! get up this moment, and come to the
window; the whole world is covered with white! and see, there are thousands
and thousands of little white feathers coming from the skies, as if the
angels were emptying feather-beds upon the earth."

"It snows," said Ellen, calmly; "I recollect my papa told us you had never
seen it snow."

"What is snow?"

"We will ask Edmund; he can tell you much better than I can."

The surprising appearance thus witnessed, induced Matilda to hasten down
stairs, where Edmund was writing his Latin exercise.--"Do pray tell me,"
she cried, "what snow is, and why I never saw it before?"

"Snow," said Edmund, "is nothing but drops of rain, which, in passing
through the cold air, become congealed or frozen. If you take this pretty
light substance into your warm hand, it will melt and become a rain-drop
again."

As Edmund spoke, he opened the window a very little way, caught some snow,
and showed her the effect he spoke of.

"But why did I never see this in Barbadoes?"

"Because Barbadoes lies nearer to the sun than England, and is much warmer,
even in winter; therefore the rain-drops never pass through that region of
cold air which freezes them in northern climates. If you were to go farther
north, you would find still more snow and ice, the same I saw you looking
at yesterday. I will lend you a little book, where you will see a
description of a palace of ice, and of whole mountains of snow, called
Glaciers; and, if you please, I will show you that part of the globe, or
earth, in which those effects begin to take place. But, my dear Ellen, pray
lend Matilda your tippet, for she looks as much frozen as the snow; she
must take great care of herself in this cold climate."

Ellen threw the pinafore she was going to put on over the neck of the
shuddering Matilda, and then ran nimbly before them towards the globe, on
which Edmund was going to lecture, neither of them looking in Matilda's
face; but Charles, who just then happened to enter, perceived that silent
tears were coursing each other down her cheek. His compassion was moved; he
apprehended that the cold, which he felt himself to be severe, had made her
ill, and he inquired what was the matter with her, in a tone of real
commiseration.

"I am so--so very ignorant," said Matilda, sobbing.

"Oh, that's it!" cried Charles, gaily; "then you and I may shake hands, for
I am ignorant too."

"Oh no, European children know every thing, but I am little better than a
negro; I find what your mamma said was very true--I know nothing at all."

"Dear Matilda, how can you say so?" said Edmund; "though you have not read
as much as we have, yet you have seen a great deal more than any of us,
and you are the youngest of the company, you know. Consider, you have
crossed the Atlantic Ocean, seen groves of orange-trees and spices grow,
and the whole process of sugar-making. You know the inside of a ship as
well as a house, and we never saw any thing better than a sloop, or sailed
any where but on the Thames."

"Besides," said Charles, "you have seen monkeys and parrots, and many other
creatures, in their own country, and many curious fish on your voyage. Oh,
you understand natural history much better than we do."

"And if you understand nothing at all," added Ellen, kindly pressing her
hand, "mamma says it is only _wilful_ ignorance that is blameable."

Matilda wept still more while the children thus tried to comfort her. This
distressed them all; but they rejoiced to see their parents enter the room,
persuaded that they would be able to comfort her better, and Ellen
instantly besought their attention to the subject by relating as much of
the foregoing conversation as was necessary.

"No, no, it is not exactly _that_ I am crying for," said Matilda,
interrupting her; "it is because I have been so very naughty, and you are
all so--so--so----"

"So what, my dear?" said Mr. Harewood, drawing her towards him, and placing
her by his side, in the same manner he was accustomed to let Ellen stand,
when she was much in his favour.

The action, however kindly meant, for a time redoubled her tears; and the
children, understanding their mamma's look, withdrew to the room where they
usually breakfasted, without the least symptom of discontent, although they
perceived their mamma fill a cup of tea for Matilda at her own table.

When they were gone, and the little girl had somewhat recovered, Mr.
Harewood whispered her--"Did you mean to say, my dear, that my children
were so clever, or so proud, or so what?"

"Oh, sir, they are so _good_! that was what I wanted to say; for there was
Edmund who always looked so grave, and was poring over his books, he talked
to me quite kindly, and never made the least game of me, for all I must
look like a fool in his eyes, who has seen the snow all his life. And then
Charles, who is so full of fun and nonsense, and who I always thought could
not abide me, he spoke to me as if he was sorry for me, and made it out
that we were both ignorant alike; and when I remembered how I had looked at
them, and behaved to them, I felt as if my heart would break. Ellen is
always so good, that I did not think so much of her kindness, but nobody
knows----"

Again the repentant girl wept, and at length with difficulty
proceeded--"Nobody knows how dearly I love her, and _you_ too."

She received the kindest assurances from both Mr. and Mrs. Harewood of
their affection, and that they fully believed she would conquer her bad
temper, now she saw how much it was not only her duty, but happiness to do
so; and Mr. Harewood assured her that he had no doubt, but in the course of
a few years, he should see her as sensible, good, and well-informed, as his
own children.

"And then I shall not be an object of pity, sir?"

"No, you will be one of affection and esteem."

"Oh, I doubt that must never, _never_ be!"

"Never despair; though you have many battles with yourself, yet never
relinquish the hope of final conquest, and be assured you will find every
victory easier than the last. When you find pride rising in your heart,
think on your ignorance, and it will make you humble; and when you are
inclined to be angry with those around you, remember what you have this day
confessed respecting their kindness, and it will make you bear with the
present vexation; and if at any time you are discomfited in any pursuit,
either of virtue or knowledge, recollect what I now say, that, with many
faults, yet you have some merit, and may therefore reasonably hope to
attain more."

"Have I indeed?" said the now-humbled girl.

"Yes, you have an inquiring mind, which is one great step towards the
attainment of knowledge, and you are sincere and open-hearted, which
enables your friends to see what is the real bent of your disposition, and
to give you the advice really necessary; and I hope, with this groundwork
of good, you will be a very different girl when your mother again sees
you."

Mr. Harewood left Matilda quieted, but deeply impressed by what he had
said.



CHAPTER V.


From this time, Matilda felt as if her heart was lightened of a heavy load,
and she looked up to Mr. and Mrs. Harewood as friends, whom it was her duty
to obey and her privilege to love; and to the children, as brothers, whose
pleasures were as dear to her as her own; and the warmth and openness of
her temper naturally led her to display more than usual friendship,
wherever she professed it at all. Happily, with all her faults, she was
neither mean, artful, nor deceitful; so that the worst part of her
disposition lay open to the observation of those good friends, who, like
skilful physicians, only wounded to cure her.

The errors of Matilda were those which never fail to attach to extreme
indulgence--pride, impetuosity, haughtiness, insolence, and idleness.
Accustomed to consider all around her as born for her use and amusement,
she commanded where she should have entreated, and resisted where she ought
to have obeyed; but when she found that her wealth, power, and consequence
were unknown, or utterly disregarded, and that she could only be esteemed
for her good qualities, even her self-love tended to cure her of her
idleness; and instead of drawling out--"Zebby, bring me this," "You fool,
fetch me the other," she administered to her own wants, and obtained her
wishes at so much less expense than she had once thought possible, that
even her own convenience taught her the wisdom of waiting upon herself.
She imputed the change, which could not fail to be remarked, to the
climate--and unquestionably it is more easy and pleasant to be active in
a cold country, than a hot one; but her friends were well aware that the
change in her mind was greater than that of her country, and they forwarded
this happy effect, by rendering the studies in which she engaged as
delightful to her as possible, in order that, by prosecuting them, she
might become less liable to rest her happiness on the vain pomp, useless
show, and tyrannical power, which were wont to delight her.

As, however, all bad habits are slowly eradicated, and it by no means
follows that even the error we have lamented and acknowledged should be so
torn from the heart that no traces remain, so it would happen, from time to
time, that Matilda would fly into violent passions with the servants around
her, as with her young companions; and even when these were suppressed, she
was apt to give herself airs of importance, and descant on the privileges
she enjoyed in her own country, where she was fanned when she was hot, by
slaves upon their knees, and borne about in a stately palanquin; where the
most exquisite fruits were continually presented to court her palate, and
the most costly dresses that money could procure purchased to please her;
where every slave trembled at her anger, or rejoiced in her smile; and
where she would one day return to reign as absolute as an empress.

"Well," said Ellen, one night, as this conversation took place in the
play-room, "I must own I should like to live at Barbadoes for one thing--I
should like to set all the slaves at liberty, and dress their little
children, and make all happy; as to all the other _good_ things and _grand_
things, I really think we have quite sufficient of them at home; for I
suppose there are no more books nor charities in your country than ours,
Matilda; and surely there can be no greater pleasure in this world, than
reading the 'Parent's Assistant,' and giving clothes and food to poor
children when they are really hungry and starving?"

"Certainly not," cried Charles; "depend upon it, Ellen, England is the
finest land in the world; and though I should like to see oranges and
pine-apples grow, I confess, and the poor slaves at their merry meeting,
all dancing away, with their woolly heads and white teeth, as happy as
princes, yet, depend upon it, there is nothing else half so beautiful as
with us. England is unquestionably the most beautiful, excellent, rich,
delightful country upon the globe."

As Charles spoke, he fixed his eyes upon Edmund; for although the ardour of
his spirits rendered him a great dealer in positive assertions, he was yet
so conscious of his inferiority in knowledge to his eldest brother, that he
seldom felt satisfied with them, unless they were stamped by his brother's
approbation.

Edmund, in answer to his appealing eye, said--"I am as well convinced as
you can be, Charles, that England combines more advantages than any other
country, and that we either have in ourselves, or obtain from other
countries, whatever is most worthy of possession; and the two good things
which Ellen considers the greatest pleasures of existence, are undoubtedly
to be had here in perfection; but I must own I should like to see Barbadoes
prodigiously, for a property which none of you have yet mentioned."

"What, have not _I_ mentioned it?" said Matilda.

"No, Matilda; you have been so much taken up with fine verandas, grand
dinners, kneeling slaves, luxurious palanquins, orange groves, and
delicious sweetmeats, that you have never once boasted of your pure air,
and the glories of your evening sky, where all the planets shine with such
a glowing lustre, that, Mr. Edwards tells us, Venus is there a kind of
moon, in the light she sheds upon the earth, and those stars which are
scarcely to be discerned here, are beheld in that enchanting air as bright
as the stars of Orion with us."

"Well," cried Charles, "that must all be because Barbadoes, and the other
West India islands, are so much nearer the sun, and I cannot say I have any
desire to be in such a hot neighbourhood."

"No, Charles, that is not the reason; for although it is the fact, yet you
cannot suppose that their difference can be perceptible, in that respect,
to those heavenly bodies which appear to resemble only diamond sparks, from
their immense distance. The brilliancy of which I speak arises from the
greater purity of the air: we frequently see objects here through a kind of
veil, which, though too thin to be perceptible, has yet its effect upon all
objects: in some cases it alters, or rather bestows, a colour which does
not properly belong to them; frequently impairs their form and beauty, but
sometimes adds to their sublimity, and invests them with imposing
greatness, proportioned to the obscurity with which they are enveloped."

"I don't understand all that Edmund says," observed Ellen, "but I should
be glad to know whether something is not the matter with the sun when it
looks copper-colour like the lid of a stewpan; because in summer-time, I
remember, when we were out in the fields, it used to be bright golden
yellow, so glorious and full of shine, as it were, that looking at it, even
for a moment, made my eyes ache, and thousands of black and green spots to
come into them."

"My dear Ellen, though you did not understand all the words I used, it is
yet plain you did comprehend the sense, as you have brought forward an
example of this effect of the atmosphere, which we all witness every day;
the fogs and exhalations through which we view the sun are the cause of
that dingy appearance you remark: and even in the summer-time, as the sun
descends, you may perceive he becomes more and more red and dark as he
approaches the horizon. I have therefore no doubt but the veil, or vapoury
substance, of which I speak, is but a little distance from the earth; for I
observe, that as the sun rises into the heavens, he grows more brilliant
from surmounting this veil."

"Did you find this out of yourself, Edmund?"

"I noticed it one day to papa, and he explained it; he told me, too, that
all the beautiful variety of colours which we observe in the setting sun
must be imputed to this cause; he taught me at the same time to distinguish
shadows in the water by reflection, and those which are refracted, and many
other things, which rendered me much more delighted with the country than I
had ever been before, and more fond of dear papa for taking the trouble to
inform me."

"Well then," said Ellen, "when we go down to Richmond next summer, you must
explain every thing to us, and we will love you better than ever, dear
Edmund; and I will say the Ode to Eton College to you in my very best
manner; perhaps Matilda will be able to say it before then, and----"

"Go on, Ellen."

"I want to know--_we_ want to know what it means in that poem, where it
says,

    'Grateful Science still adores
     Her Henry's holy shade.'

What is a holy shade, Edmund?"

"It is a poetical expression, my dear, meaning that we of the present day
are grateful to the founder, Henry the Sixth, who was a religious, and
probably a learned man, although very unfortunate as a king."

"Oh," cried Ellen, "I remember all about him; he was deposed by Edward the
Fourth, whose two sons were afterwards murdered in the Tower by their
wicked uncle, Richard the Third."

"I remember _that_," said Matilda, timidly, yet with that kind of pleasure
which indicated a sense of approaching her superior in knowledge, and being
sensible that this was the only kind of superiority worth possessing.

Scarcely, however, had she spoken, when Charles, throwing himself into a
theatrical attitude, exclaimed--"Ay! but do you remember the man that
looked like _him_--to this same Henry, '_Who drew Priam's curtains in the
dead of night, and would have told him half his Troy was burnt?_'"

"No, indeed," said both the girls, staring.

Charles burst into a loud laugh at their innocent surprise at his violent
gesticulation and grimace.

"I know what you mean," said Ellen, rather poutingly; "yes, I know it very
well, though I don't choose to talk about things of that kind, because I
have always been told that none but ignorant and foolish people did so."

"But I entreat you," said Charles, "to tell me what you think I mean, for I
am sure you surprise me now as much as I did you."

"Why, I suppose Henry's holy shade means spirit, and it was that which
drew Priam's curtains in the dead of night, (or which he thought did,)
though it was probably only the housemaid."

Again Charles burst into an immoderate fit of laughter,
exclaiming--"Housemaid! admirable! upon my word, Ellen, you have found a
personage in the old king's establishment Homer never thought of."

"I never read Homer," said Ellen, simply.

"No, child, you need not tell us that," continued Charles, most provokingly
continuing to laugh, until poor Ellen was completely disconcerted, and
looked in the face of Edmund with such an appealing air, that he assumed a
look of much more serious remonstrance than was usual as he thus addressed
his brother--"You may laugh as long as you please, sir, but your whole
conduct in this affair has shown so much less knowledge, as well as good
sense, than Ellen herself has displayed, that really I should not wonder
if a moment's recollection made you cry as heartily as you now laugh."

"Indeed!" said Charles, suddenly stopping.

"Yes, _indeed_! In the first place, there can be surely no doubt but you
and I have read a great deal more than the girls, and could at any time
puzzle and distress them by various quotations; but when they make
inquiries to increase their own stock of knowledge, it is our duty, and
ought to be our pleasure, to give them information, not confusion, which
you evidently intended to do; besides, it is rude, almost inhuman, to
oppress any person, even by the possession of that which is in itself
praiseworthy; and as the end of all conversation is, or ought to be,
improvement, a person who in any manner checks the spirit of inquiry and
free discussion, hinders that end. We all know that English history is all
that Ellen has dipped into, and in the little she presumed to utter on the
subject, she was perfectly correct; whereas you, in your exhibition of
more reading, made a palpable error, since Homer names maids repeatedly as
belonging to the palace, and we cannot doubt their being employed as our
housemaids are, since their offices are often particularized."

"A mighty piece of work, truly," said Charles, "for just quoting two lines
of Shakspeare!"

"No, no, Charles, 'tis not for the quotation, but the manner, and you
cannot but see yourself how erroneous an idea was taken up in consequence;
how often does papa say people can never be too plain and simple, too
downright and unequivocal, in their explanations to children, otherwise
they plant words rather than ideas in their minds, and create a confusion
which it may take many a year of after-thought to unravel?"

"I was very foolish," said Charles, looking at Ellen with the air of one
that wondered how it had been possible to give pain to that little gentle
heart, which sought only to bestow pleasure on all around it. He was about
to speak, but before he had time, his fond sister had read his heart, and
throwing her arms around his neck, she exclaimed--"I know you meant
nothing, dear Charles; no, I know you didn't; only you are so fond of
being funny."

The eyes of Charles did indeed now twinkle with a tear; and Matilda, who
was quick to discern, and acute in all her feelings, was much affected.
When they retired, she revolved all the conversation in her mind; she saw
clearly that virtue and knowledge were the only passports to happiness; and
the remembrance of her mother's desire to teach her various things, which
she had either shunned from idleness, or rejected with insolence and
ill-humour, rose to her mind; and the unhappy indulgence of her father
appeared to her in far different colours to what she had ever beheld it.
She became frequently disturbed, and full of painful reflection; yet she
evidently took much pains in attaining knowledge of the task assigned her,
and in conquering those risings of temper which were become inherent in her
mind. Notwithstanding her frequent fits of abstraction, in which it was
evident some great grief was uppermost in her mind, yet, as her nature led
her to be communicative, and she was never subject to be sullen, the family
did not press her to reveal her trouble, thinking that at the proper time
she would repose confidence in them; and accordingly, as she sat one day
alone with Mrs. Harewood, the following conversation took place between
them.



CHAPTER VI.


Matilda, after a long silence, in which she was endeavouring, but in vain,
to arrange her ideas and calm the incessant beating of her heart, said,
timidly and abruptly, with her eyes fixed on the carpet--"Do you think,
ma'am, that if Ellen had ever been very, _very_ naughty and saucy to _you_,
who are so good to _her_, that you could ever really in your heart forgive
her?"

"I certainly should consider it my duty to punish her for her
disobedience, by withholding my usual expressions of love and my general
indulgences from her; but I should undoubtedly forgive her, because, in the
first place, God has commanded me to forgive all trespasses, and in the
second, my heart would be drawn naturally towards my own child."

"But surely, dear Mrs. Harewood, it is worse for an _own_ child to behave
ill to a parent than any other person?"

"Undoubtedly, my dear, for it unites the crime of ingratitude to that of
disobedience; besides, it is cruel and unnatural to be guilty of insolence
and hard-heartedness towards the hand which has reared and fostered us all
our lives--which has loved us in despite of our faults--watched over our
infancy--instructed our childhood--nursed us in sickness, and prayed for
us before we could pray for ourselves."

"My mamma has done all this for me a thousand times," cried Matilda,
bursting into tears of bitter contrition, which, for some time, Mrs.
Harewood suffered to flow unrestrained; at length she checked herself, but
it was only to vent her sorrow by self-accusation--"Oh, ma'am! you cannot
think how very ill I have behaved to my dear, dear mother--I have been
saucy to her, and bad to every body about me; many a time have I vexed her
on purpose; and when she scolded me, I was so pert and disobedient--you can
form no idea how bad I was. If she spoke ever so gently to me, I used to
tell my papa she had been scolding me, and then he would blame her and
justify me; and many a time I have heard deep sighs, that seemed to come
from the very bottom of her heart, and the tears would stand in her sweet
eyes as she looked at me. Oh, wicked, wicked child that I was, to grieve
such a good mamma! and now we are parted such a long, long way, and I
cannot beg her pardon--I cannot show her that I am trying to be good;
perhaps she may die, as poor papa did, and I shall never, _never_ see her
more."

The agonies of the repentant girl, as this afflictive thought came over
her mind, arose to desperation; and Mrs. Harewood, who felt much for her,
endeavoured to bestow some comfort upon her; but poor Matilda, who was ever
violent, even in her better feelings, could not, for a long time, listen to
the kind voice of her consoler--she could only repeat her own faults,
recapitulate all the crimes she had been guilty of, and display, in
all their native hideousness, such traits of ill-humour, petulance,
ungovernable fury, outrageous passion, and vile revenge, as are the
natural offspring of the human heart, when its bad propensities are matured
by indulgence, particularly in those warm countries, where the mind
partakes the nature of the soil, and slavery in one race of beings gives
power to all the bad passions of another.

At length the storm of anguish so far gave way, that Mrs. Harewood was able
to command her attention, and she seized this precious season of penitence
and humility to imprint the leading truths of Christianity, and those plain
and invaluable doctrines which are deducible from them, and evident to the
capacity of any sensible child, without leading from the more immediate
object of her anxiety; as Mrs. Harewood very justly concluded, that if she
saw her error as a child, and could be brought to conquer her faults as
such, it would include every virtue to be expected at her time of life, and
would lay the foundation of all those which we estimate in the female
character.

"Oh," cried Matilda, sobbing, "if I could kneel at her feet, if I could
humble myself lower than the lowest negro to my dear mamma, and once hear
her say she forgave me, I could be comforted; but I do not like to be
comforted without this; I am angry at myself, and I ought to be angry."

"But, my dear little girl," replied Mrs. Harewood, "though you cannot thus
humble yourself in your body, yet you are conscious that you are humbled in
your mind, and that your penitence will render you guarded for the time to
come; and let it be your consolation to know, though your mother is absent,
the ears of your heavenly Father are ever open to your sorrows; and that,
if you lament your sins to him, he will assuredly accept your repentance,
and dispose the heart of your dear mother to accept it also. I sincerely
pity you, not as heretofore, for your folly, but for your sorrow; and in
order to enable you to comprehend what I mean by repenting before God, I
will compose you a short prayer, which will both express your feelings,
and remind you of your duty towards yourself and your mother."

Matilda received this act of kindness from her good friend with real
gratitude; and when she had committed it to memory, and adopted it in
addressing Almighty God, she found her spirits revive, with the hope that
she should one day prove worthy of that kind parent, whom, when she lived
with her, she was too apt to slight and disobey. As her judgment became
more enlightened, she saw more clearly into the errors of her past
education, and became perfectly aware that the love of her too-indulgent
father had been productive of innumerable pains, as well as faults. She
found herself much more happy now than she had ever been in her life; yet
she had never so few indulgences--she had no slaves to wait on her, no
little black children to execute her commands and submit to her temper; she
was not coaxed to the dainties of a luxurious table, nor had costly clothes
spread before her to court her choice, nor any foolish friend to repeat all
she said, as if she were a prodigy of wit and talent; and all these things,
she well remembered, were accorded to her as a kind of inheritance in
Barbadoes; but, along with them, she remembered having violent passions, in
which she committed excesses, for which she afterwards felt keen remorse,
because she saw how they wounded her mother, and shamed even her doting
father--ill-humour and low spirits, that rendered every thing irksome to
her, and many pains and fevers, from which she was now entirely free; and
she found, in the conversation, books, and instructions of her young
friends, amusement to which nothing she had enjoyed before would bear
comparison; for what in life is so delightful as knowledge, except the
sense of having performed some particular benefit to our fellow-creatures?



CHAPTER VII.


It will be readily supposed that, with the hopes now entertained of
Matilda's conduct, Mrs. Harewood did not hesitate to provide the governess
we have spoken of, and accordingly Miss Campbell was soon established in
the family.

She found Matilda rapid in her ideas, persevering in her pursuits, but
prone to resentment on every trifling occasion, and still subject to
finding herself cause for repentance. On these occasions Miss Campbell
conducted herself with composure and dignity, as if she considered a
petulant child below the notice of a sensible woman: by this means the
pride of the culprit was humbled; she was taught to retread her first
steps, and perceive that she was an insignificant being, obliged to the
suffrage of her friends, and only capable of being valuable in proportion
to her docility and amiable conduct.

Mrs. Harewood had been accustomed to give her children the treat of a ball
at Christmas; but on this year she put it off until midsummer, partly
because she was afraid, in so large a party, and with such various
dispositions, Matilda might not be able to conduct herself with perfect
propriety during a whole evening, and partly because she wished her to
learn to dance; for although this was, in her eyes, a very secondary
accomplishment, when compared to solid knowledge, yet, as a healthful and
innocent amusement, and called for in order to form the person in that
station of life in which Matilda was likely to move, she desired to see her
acquire at least as much of it as would preserve her from the appearance of
awkwardness. It was an object of anxiety with this truly maternal friend to
save her from all unnecessary mortification, at the same time she earnestly
desired to see her tractable, humble, and gentle.

Time now passed away pleasantly, for all were occupied, and therefore
happy: the idle are subject to many errors, and therefore many sorrows,
from which the busy are exempt.

The good governess studied the temper and disposition of her pupils, and
drew them forth in the happiest manner; not by making exhibitions of their
attainments to others, but by showing them what was necessary to themselves
for their improvement. She considered the work of education as sowing good
seed, which shall spring up with vigour in advancing life, in proportion to
the depth of the soil and its preparation for receiving it.

Whilst Miss Campbell inculcated those branches of polite learning which
give a grace to virtue, she was still more desirous of inculcating virtue
itself, by grafting it on religious principle, and that "fear of God, which
is the beginning of wisdom."

The children of Mrs. Harewood had been taught, from their earliest days,
that prudence and charity must go hand in hand; but it remained for Miss
Campbell to impress this salutary truth on the mind of Matilda, who was
naturally very generous, but debased that feeling by ostentation, and ever
sought to indulge it with a vain and hurtful profusion, until she became
enlightened by her young preceptress, who likewise, in many other points,
regulated those desires in her pupils which blend good and evil, and
require a firm and delicate management. She was very solicitous to render
them active, both personally and mentally, knowing that the health of both
body and mind depends upon their due exercise, and that a taste for study
is yet perfectly compatible with those various exertions to which the
duties of a woman always call her, in whatever sphere she may have occasion
to move.

Miss Campbell wished to save her pupils alike from that perpetual
fidgetiness, which renders so many females unable to amuse themselves for
a single hour, unless their hands, feet, and tongue are employed, and that
pertinacious love of reading, which renders them utterly unable to enter
into the common claims of society, while a new story is perused, or a new
study developed; she considered these errors as diseases in the mental
habit it was her duty to prevent or eradicate, since they must be ever
inconsistent with general duty and individual happiness.

Time passed--the vacation arrived, and the young people had the pleasure of
all meeting again. Matilda was nearly as glad as Ellen to see Edmund and
Charles, who, on their own parts, were much improved, and delighted to find
the girls so. Matilda was in every respect altered, and although she had
not Ellen's sweetness of temper, yet she had greatly conquered her
propensity to passion, was very obliging in her general manners, and
considerate to her inferiors, and attached to Ellen, her governess, and Mr.
and Mrs. Harewood, with a tenderness and gratitude that was very amiable
and even affecting.



CHAPTER VIII.


One day, when Edmund and Charles had been at home about a week, the latter
ran eagerly into the sitting-parlour, crying out--"Oh, mamma! there is
Betty's sister down stairs, with the poor little twins in her arms, which
were born just when Matilda came; they have short frocks now, but I
perceive they have no shoes: suppose we young ones subscribe, and buy
them some, poor things! there is my eighteen-penny piece for shoes,
mamma--shoes, and hats too, if we can raise money enough."

Mrs. Harewood could not help smiling at Charles's eagerness, as she
remembered the useful mortification he had experienced the last time his
charity was called upon; and as she took up the money, she observed to
him--"I am glad to see this, Charles; it is a proof you are more provident
than you used to be; and, with your propensity to spending, it requires no
little effort to save, in a large school, where there are always many
temptations. I think your proposal is a very good one; and whilst I am
collecting the money, pray step down stairs, and tell Betty to bring up
the little innocents--we shall all be glad to see them."

Charles flew out of the room, and in less than a minute returned with the
mother, carrying a babe in each arm. She was a very decent woman, the widow
of a soldier, who died before his poor children were born; she now
endeavoured to maintain herself and them by taking in washing, together
with the pay of the parish, which, although small, she received very
thankfully, and managed very carefully.

"Look, mamma! what pretty little feet they have," cried Ellen; "I am sure
Charles was a good boy to think about shoes for them--was it not very kind
of him, Matilda? because you know little boys seldom love little babies so
much as girls do."

Matilda answered "yes," mechanically, for her mind was abstracted, and
affected by the remembrance this scene was calculated to inspire. Mrs.
Harewood, feeling for her evident embarrassment, sent the poor woman down
stairs to take some refreshment, and then laid a three-shilling piece, as
her own share of the contribution, besides Charles's subscription on the
table.

Edmund laid a shilling on the table, saying--"If more is wanted, I will
give you another with great pleasure: I hope, mamma, you _know_ that I
will?"

"Yes, Edmund, I _do_ know that you will do any thing in your power, for you
are regular and prudent, as well as a kind-hearted boy, and therefore have
always got something to spare for the wants of others; I perceive, too,
that you have the good sense to examine the nature of the claim made upon
you, and that you give accordingly; _you_ are aware, and I wish all the
young ones to be so likewise, that this, although an act of charity, is not
called for by any immediate distress; it is not one of those cases which
wring the heart and drain the purse, for the poor woman is neither
unprovided with lodgings nor food, and we ought always to keep something
for the sake of sufferers of that description: I wish you, children, to be
free and liberal, for we are told in the scriptures that 'God loveth a
cheerful giver;' but, in order to render you also frequent givers, you must
be prudent ones."

"I have only one shilling in the world," said Ellen, laying it on the
table.

"Then sixpence is as much as you ought to give," said Mrs. Harewood,
giving her a sixpence in change, when, observing that she took it with an
air of reluctance, she said--"My dear Ellen, be satisfied; you are a little
girl, and have not half your brother's allowance, you know--it is
sufficient."

While this was passing, Matilda had been fumbling in her pocket, and
blushing excessively; her mind was full of painful recollections, yet
fraught with gleams of satisfaction; but she wished very much to do two
very contrary things, and whilst she still hesitated, Miss Campbell
said--"Here is another sixpence, ma'am, which I will take, and give you an
eighteen-pence, as I wish to give you a shilling, with Edmund's proviso."

"But," said Matilda, with a mixture of eagerness and hesitation, "then
there will be no change for me, and I wish to give the same as Ellen; don't
I want change, ma'am? I--I believe I do."

There was, in this confusion, and the blush which deepened in her cheek, a
something which showed Mrs. Harewood a great deal of what was passing in
the mind of this self-convicted, but compassionate and ingenuous girl. Mrs.
Harewood took her shilling, and returned her sixpence, which she evidently
received with pain, but an effort to smile, as Ellen had done, in return
for the smile of her mamma.

After a short pause, Mrs. Harewood said--"Well, Matilda, your delicacy is
now satisfied--you have not affected any display of humanity, or
ostentatious exhibition of wealth, in order to humble your young friends;
but I perceive your heart is not satisfied; that heart is really interested
in these babes, and, conscious that it is in your power to do more, you are
mortified at stopping short of your own wishes and their wants."

"Oh dear, ma'am," replied Matilda, "you have read all the thoughts of my
heart, (at least all but one,) and if you think it right, and Ellen will
not think me proud, I will indeed be very glad if you will accept a crown
for my subscription."

"I shall receive it with pleasure; and I can venture to assure you, that my
children will neither feel envy, anger, nor any other emotion, except joy,
at seeing the little objects of their care benefited, and you happy; for
they have been taught only to value such actions, according to the motive
in one party, and their usefulness to the other: but, Matilda, if it is not
a very great secret, I should be glad to know what that _one_ other thought
in your heart was, which I did not guess, upon this occasion?"

Matilda did not find this question so easy of reply as Mrs. Harewood had
expected it to be; she blushed and hung down her head; but, on perceiving
that Mrs. Harewood was going to release her from all necessity of reply,
she struggled to conquer what she deemed a weakness in herself, and
answered thus--"Why, my dear madam, I was thinking what a little proud,
stubborn, ill-behaved girl I was, at the time when these twins were born,
and we first made a subscription for this poor woman; I remembered, too,
how miserable I was, and altogether how much I had to lament, and I felt
as if I could like to do something, to prove how thankful I am to God for
bringing me into a family like yours, where every day of my life I may
learn something good, and where I have been a great deal more happy than
ever I was before, even in the house with my own parents."

Matilda stopped a moment, as if she thought her confession had perhaps
infringed on her duty; but recollecting that all her past sorrow had been
laid to the proper account, which was her own bad temper and pride, she
again proceeded in it.

"When I thought on these things, I came close up to you; but my heart beat
so quick, I could not speak, or else I had a guinea in my hand, the last
my dear mamma gave me, and I wished very much to give you _that_; but then
the memory of my foolish pride, the last time, came again into my mind--I
became ashamed, and determined in all things to be guided by Ellen, who is
almost a year older than I, and a great deal better."

"No, no--not _better_," said Ellen, warmly; and even her brothers, who
loved her very dearly, struck with the same admiration of Matilda's
frankness and generosity, exclaimed--"You are as good as Ellen _now_,
Matilda--indeed you are!"

Mrs. Harewood, tenderly kissing her, assured her of her approbation,
saying--"All you have said, my dear, tends decidedly to prove that your
mind is indeed properly impressed with your duty both towards God and man,
and that you have the most sincere desire to conquer those faults which you
have already greatly amended; therefore I am determined to permit you to
exercise your benevolence, in the most extensive manner that your heart
could wish, knowing, as I do, that your fortune is fully equal to any act
of charity, and that your good mamma will not fail to approve of it."

"Thank you, thank you, dear Mrs. Harewood! oh, you are my English mother,
and I love you much more than any other person in the world, except my
Barbadoes mamma."

The children eagerly crowded round their mother's chair, to hear what the
good news was, which promised to benefit Sally, and make Matilda happy.

"I know," said Mrs. Harewood, "that the purchase of a mangle would set up
the poor woman in her profession as a washerwoman, and enable her to earn
at least ten shillings a-week more. It was my intention to purchase one for
her myself at Christmas; but I could not do it before, as my charity-purse
has been very much run upon lately. When Mr. Harewood comes in, I will ask
for the money, and to-morrow we will all go in the coach, and see Matilda
purchase it: but, my dear girl, suppose you just step and inform the poor
woman of your intention, which I am certain you had rather do without
witnesses; it will not only increase her pleasure, but enable her to
prepare her apartment for such a noble and useful piece of furniture."

Matilda left the room, but returned almost immediately.

"You have been very quick," said Ellen, in rather a murmuring voice; "I
wanted to know what she said and how she looked when you told her the good
news."

"I did not speak to her myself--I commissioned Zebby to do it, for I knew
it would give her quite as much pleasure as the poor woman herself could
receive; and surely she has a right to receive every good I can bestow, as
a slight atonement for the pain I have so very frequently given her."

Scarcely had Matilda given this proof of consideration and amiable feeling,
when Sally and Zebby rushed into the room together, followed by Betty, who
was truly grateful for the kindness thus bestowed on her sister.

Sally, with tears of joy, thanked her young benefactress; her words were
few, but they were those of respect and thankfulness, and showed she was
deeply sensible of the benefit she experienced.

Poor Zebby, delighted with the goodness of her young mistress, audibly
expressed her pleasure, with all the characteristic warmth of her country,
and not a little proud of those virtues which she fancied she had assisted
to nurture.--"Oh," cried she, "dis be my own beautiful Missy own goodness;
she makee joy in her mamma heart; she makee poor negro all happy--singee
and dancee every body; no more whip, massa Buckraman--every body
delight--every body glad--every body good Christian, when Missy go back!"

The spontaneous effusion of joy, uttered by this daughter of nature,
affected all the party, and the joyful bustle had not subsided when Mr.
Harewood entered. On being informed of the cause, he gave his full assent,
and produced the money necessary for the purchase of the mangle.

The following day was pleasantly employed in arranging the poor woman's
new acquisition; and when Matilda saw her grateful, happy countenance, and
learned the manner in which the machine would be worked, and its usefulness
in smoothing linen, she felt the value of a useful life, and a sense of her
own importance, distinct from the idle consequence which is the result of
vanity and pride, but perfectly compatible with the self-distrust and true
humility which was now happily taking a deep root in her young mind.

Mrs. Harewood was gratified in perceiving such results of her maternal care
for Matilda: still she did not relax in her vigilance; for she well knew,
that along with corn will spring up tares in every young mind, and that the
virtue of one day does not exempt from the vice of another, during the
years of early life; and there were still many points in which the errors
of her Barbadoes education were but too visible, and which called for the
pruning hand of a sensible and pious friend.



CHAPTER IX.


The foolish indulgence of Mr. Hanson had in no respect been more injurious
to his only daughter, than in the unrestrained permission to eat whatever
she liked, and as much of it as she could swallow.

On arriving at Mr. Harewood's, she found herself at a loss for many of the
sweet and rich dishes she had been accustomed to eat of at her father's
luxurious table; for although theirs was very well served, it consisted
generally of plain and wholesome viands. Under these circumstances, Matilda
made what she considered very poor dinners, and she endeavoured to supply
her loss by procuring sweet things and trash, through the medium of Zebby,
who, in this particular, was more liable to mislead her than any other
person, because she knew to what she had been used, having frequently
waited upon her, when the little gormandizer had eaten the whole of any
delicacy which happened to be provided for the company.

Mrs. Harewood took great pains to correct this evil, especially on Ellen's
account; for as Matilda was not covetous, she was ever ready to share with
her only companion the raisins and almonds, figs, gingerbread, biscuits,
or comfits, which she was continually munching; and this Mrs. Harewood had
a particular objection to, not only because it is bad for the health, and
lays the foundation for innumerable evils in the constitution, but because
it renders young people hateful in their appearance, since nothing can be
more unladylike or disagreeable, than the circumstance of being called to
speak when the mouth is full, or displaying the greediness of their
appetite, by cramming between meals, stealing out of a room to fill the
mouth in the passage, or silently moving the jaws about, and being obliged
to blush with shame when caught in such disgraceful tricks.

In order to guard against this habit, Mrs. Harewood positively forbade her
servants from bringing any thing of the kind into the house; but poor
Zebby, from habit, still obeyed her young Missy, and, besides, she had no
idea that the enjoyments of fortune were good for any thing else than to
pamper the appetite; so that it was a long time before she could be brought
to desist from so pernicious a practice. As, however, the mind of Matilda
strengthened, and she began to employ herself diligently in those new
branches of education now imparted to her, she insensibly became weaned
from this bad practice; and at length, inspired with a sincere desire to
imitate her young friends, she broke herself entirely from this disgusting
habit, and willingly adopted, in every thing, the simple wholesome fare
partaken by her young friends.

It was undoubtedly owing to this temperance that she preserved her health,
and even enjoyed it more than ever, notwithstanding the change of climate;
but, alas! the good sense, resolution, and forbearance she thus acted with,
was not followed by the humble companion of her voyage.

The change Zebby experienced in Mr. Harewood's comfortable kitchen, from
the simple food to which, as a slave, she had been accustomed in the West
Indies, was still greater, though in an exactly contrary line, than that of
her young lady. Zebby soon learned to eat of the good roast and boiled she
sat down to, and exchanged the simple beverage of water for porter and
beer, in consequence of which she became much disordered in her health;
and when Mrs. Harewood prescribed a little necessary physic, as her mild
persuasions were enforced by no threat, and the prescription appeared to
the unenlightened negro a kind of punishment she had no inclination to
endure, there was no getting her to swallow the bitter but salutary
potion.

Zebby had been a long time feverish and subject to headaches, when the
circumstance mentioned in the last chapter took place, which so exhilarated
her spirits, that she declared she would be the first person who should use
the new mangle which "her pretty Missy givee poor Sally."

It is well known that the negroes are naturally averse to bodily labour,
and that, although their faithfulness and affection render them capable
of enduring extreme hardship and many privations, yet they are rarely
voluntarily industrious; and it was therefore a proof of Zebby's real
kindness, that she thus exerted herself.

Unhappily, a mode of labour entirely new to her, and, in her present sickly
state, requiring more strength than she possessed, although, had she used
it freely some time before, it would have done her good, was now too much
for her, and she came home complaining, in doleful accents, that "poor
Zebby have achies all over--is sometimes so hot as Barbadoes, sometimes so
cold as London."

Mrs. Harewood was well aware that the good-tempered negro was seized with
fever, and she sent immediately for her apothecary, who confirmed her
fears, and prescribed for her; but as there was no getting her to swallow
medicine, he was obliged to bleed her, and put a blister on her head,
which, however, did not prevent her from becoming delirious for several
days.

Poor Zebby was, at this time, troubled with the most distressing desire to
return to Barbadoes, and all her ravings were to this purpose; and they
were naturally very affecting to Matilda, who never heard them without
being a little desirous of uniting her own wishes to behold her native
country, especially when she heard it coupled with the name of that only,
and now fondly-beloved parent, from whom she was so far separated, and her
tears flowed freely when she visited the bedside of the poor African. But
her sorrow increased exceedingly when she learned the danger in which poor
Zebby stood, and found that her death was daily expected by all around;
bitter indeed were the tears she then shed, and she would have given the
world to have recalled those hasty expressions, angry blows, and capricious
actions, which had so often afflicted her humble attendant, whose fidelity,
love, humility, and services, she now could fully estimate, and whose loss
she would deeply deplore.

Mrs. Harewood endeavoured to comfort her under this affliction, by leading
her to view the consolations which religion offers to the afflicted in
general, and she explained the nature of that beneficent dispensation
whereby the learned and the ignorant, the poor and the rich, the slave and
his master, are alike brought to receive salvation as the free gift of God,
through the mediation of our merciful Redeemer; and comforted her with the
hope, that although poor Zebby's mind was but little enlightened, and her
faith comparatively uninformed, yet as, to the best of her knowledge, she
had been devout and humble, resting her claims for future happiness on that
corner-stone, "the goodness of God in Christ Jesus," so there was no reason
to fear that she would not leave this world for a far better, for "a house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Matilda's mind was deeply impressed with this holy and happy consolation,
but yet she could not help lamenting her own loss, in one whom she no
longer considered her slave, and little better than a beast of burden, but
as her countrywoman, her friend, the partaker of that precious faith by
which alone the most wise, wealthy, and great, can hope to inherit the
kingdom of heaven; and she could not help praying for her restoration to
health, with all the fervour of which her heart was capable; and many a
promise mingled with her prayer, that, if it pleased God to restore her,
she would never treat her ill again: and these promises she likewise
repeated to Mrs. Harewood and her governess.

Neither of these ladies lost the opportunity thus offered, of impressing
on her mind the duties which every woman, whatever may be her rank or
situation in life, does indeed owe to those whom Providence hath placed
under her. They explained, in particular, the necessity of forbearance in
point of manners, and of consideration in her daily employments--"If," said
the good mistress, "I ring the bell twice or thrice, where once would
answer every purpose, provided I gave myself the trouble of considering
what I really wanted, I not only waste my servant's time, which would
supply my wants, and therefore injure myself in one sense, but I waste the
strength which is her only means of subsistence, and I awaken that vexation
of temper, which, although perhaps suppressed before me, will yet rankle in
her bosom, and probably induce her to commit some injury on my property,
which is an actual sin in her: thus _my_ folly leads to _her_ guilt, and
the very least mischief that can accrue is her unhappiness; for who can be
happy whose temper is perpetually ruffled by the cruel thoughtlessness of
those who have the absolute disposal of their time, their talents, and, in
a great measure, their dispositions?"

"Depend upon it," added Miss Campbell, "that as we are assured in the
Scriptures, that 'for every idle word we shall be brought to account,' so,
in a particular manner, must we be judged for all those idle words and
actions which have inflicted on any of our fellow-creatures pains we have
no right to bestow, or tempted them to sins they had no inclination to
follow; the petty tyrannies of our whims, changes, and fancies--of our
scoldings, complainings, peremptory orders, and causeless contradictions,
will all one day swell that awful list of sins, of which it may be truly
said, 'we cannot answer one in a thousand.'"

When Miss Campbell ceased speaking, Ellen, who, although not affected so
violently as Matilda, had yet felt much for Zebby's situation, and was
seriously desirous of profiting by all she heard, said in a low voice--"I
will do every thing for myself--I will never trouble Susan, or Betty, or
any body."

Mrs. Harewood knew the bent of her daughter's mind, and that although, from
the sweetness of her temper and the mildness of her manners, she was not
likely to fall into Matilda's errors, there were others of an opposite
class, from which it was necessary to guard her; she therefore
added--"Although consideration and kindness are certainly the first duties
to be insisted upon in our conduct, yet there are others of not less
importance. It is the place of every mistress to exact obedience to
reasonable commands and the execution of all proper services. If she does
not do this, she deserts her own station in society, defeats the intentions
she was called to fulfil, and which made her the guide and guardian, not
the companion and fellow-server, of her servants. In abandoning them to
their own discretion, she lays upon them a burden which, either from
ignorance or habit, they are probably unequal to endure, since it is
certain that many truly respectable persons in this class have been only
so while they were under the controlling eye or leading mind of their
superiors. Besides, all uncommon levity of manners, like all unbecoming
freedom in conversation, more frequently arises from weakness or idleness
in the parties, and ought to be guarded against in our conduct, as never
failing to be degradatory to ourselves, and very far from beneficial to
those they affect to serve: it is possible to be very friendly, yet very
firm; to be gentle, yet resolute, and at once a fellow-Christian and a good
master to those whom Providence hath rendered our dependants."

Ellen listened to this with attention, and endeavoured to understand and
apply it; but both she and Matilda continued to pay the most affectionate
attentions to poor Zebby, whose disorder in a few days took a more
favourable turn than could have been expected, although the delirium did
not immediately subside, but rather affected her general temper, which,
under its influence, appeared as remarkably unpleasant and tormenting to
herself and all around, as it was formerly kind and obliging.

This period was indeed trying to Matilda, who was by no means sufficiently
confirmed in her virtuous resolutions, or good habits, to endure reproaches
where she merited thanks, even in a case where she was aware of deranged
intellect and real affection, either of which ought to have led her to
endure the wild sallies and troublesome pettishness of the suffering negro.
It must however be allowed, that if she did not do all she ought, she yet
did more than could have been once expected, and very greatly increased
the esteem and approbation of her friends.

Matilda, when she was not influenced by the bodily indolence which was
natural to her as a West-Indian, and which was rather a misfortune than her
fault, was apt to be too active and bustling for the stillness required in
a sick chamber; and whatever she did, was done with a rapidity and
noisiness, more in unison with her own ardent desire of doing good, than
the actual welfare of the person she sought to relieve; whereas Ellen never
for a moment lost sight of that gentle care and considerate pity, which was
natural to a mind attuned to tenderness from its very birth; and many a
time would she say--"Hush, Matilda! don't speak so loud; have a care how
you shut the door," &c.

One day they both happened to go in just as the nurse was going to give the
patient a basin of broth--"Let me give it her," said Matilda; "you know she
always likes me to give her any thing."

"Sometimes she does, when she knows you; but her head wanders to-day
sadly."

"Never mind," replied Matilda, in her hurrying manner, and taking the broth
from the woman in such a way that the basin shook upon the plate; on which
Ellen said--"Have a care, the broth seems very hot; indeed, _too_ hot for
Zebby to take."

Matilda fancied this caution an indirect attack upon her care, and she went
to the bedside immediately, and bolting up to the patient, who was sitting,
raised by pillows, she offered the broth to her, saying--"Come, Zebby, let
me feed you with this nice food--it will do you good."

The warm fume of the basin was offensive to the invalid--"Me no likee
brothies," said she; and as it was not instantly removed, she unhappily
pushed away the plate, and turned the scalding contents of the basin
completely into the bosom of poor Matilda, as she reclined towards her.

Shrieking with pain, and stamping with anger, Matilda instantly cried out
that she was murdered, and the wretch should be flayed alive.

Ellen, shocked, terrified, and truly sorry, called out in an agony--"Mamma,
dear mamma, come here this moment! poor Matilda is scalded to death!"

The nurse, the servants, and Mrs. Harewood herself, were in a few moments
with the sufferer; and the latter, although she despatched the footman for
a surgeon, did not for a moment neglect the assistance and relief in her
own power to bestow; she scraped some white lead[1] into a little thick
cream, and applied it with a feather all over the scalded parts; and in a
very short time the excruciating pain was relieved, and the fire so well
drawn out by it, that when the surgeon arrived he made no change in the
application, but desired it might be persisted in, and said--"He had no
doubt of a cure being speedily obtained, if the patient were calm."

  [1] The author has found this prescription very efficacious in
  various cases of scalds.

During the former part of this time, Matilda continued to scream
incessantly, with the air of a person whose unmerited and intolerable
sufferings gave a right to violence; and even when she became comparatively
easy, she yet uttered bitter complaints against Zebby, as the cause of the
mischief; never taking into consideration her own share of it, nor
recollecting that she acted both thoughtlessly and stubbornly in neglecting
the advice of Ellen; and that although her principal motive was the
endeavour to benefit Zebby, yet there was a deficiency in actual kindness,
when she offered her broth it was impossible for the poor creature to
taste. Such, however, was the commiseration for her injury felt by all
those around her, that no one would, in the moment of her punishment, say a
word that could be deemed unkind; and soothings, rather than exhortations,
were all that were uttered.

At length the storm was appeased; Matilda, declaring herself much easier,
was laid upon the sofa, and a gentle anodyne being given to her, she closed
her eyes, and if she did not sleep, she appeared in a state of stupor,
which much resembled sleep. It so happened, that the hot liquid had, in
falling, thrown many drops upon her face, which gave her so much pain at
the moment, that she thought she was scalded much worse than she really
was, as did those around her; but Ellen, as she watched her slumbers, now
perceived that this was a very transient injury, and she observed to her
mamma, that she hoped Matilda's good looks would not be spoiled by the
accident, at least that her beauty would be restored before her mother's
arrival from the West Indies.

"Before that time," returned Mrs. Harewood, "I trust Matilda will have
attained such a degree of mental beauty, as would render the total
destruction of her personal beauty a trifling loss, in comparison, to the
eye of a thinking and good mother, such as I apprehend Mrs. Hanson to be."

"But surely, mamma, it is a good thing to be handsome? I mean, if people
happen to be handsome, it is a pity they should lose their beauty."

"It is, my dear, to a certain degree a pity; for a pretty face, like a
pleasant prospect, gives pleasure to the beholder, and leads the mind to
contemplate the great Author of beauty in his works, and rejoice in the
perfection every where visible in nature. The possessors of beauty may,
however, so often spare it with advantage to themselves and their near
connections, that the loss of it, provided there is neither sickness, nor
any very disgusting appearance, left behind, does not appear to me a very
great misfortune."

"But surely, mamma, people may be both very pretty and very good?"

"Undoubtedly, my dear; but such are the temptations handsome people are
subject to, that they are much more frequently to be pitied than envied;
yet envy from the illiberal and malicious seldom fails to pursue them; and
when they are neither vain nor arrogant, generally points them out as
both."

"I have often wished to be handsome, mamma, because I thought people would
love me if I were; but if that is the case, I must have been mistaken,
mamma."

"Indeed you were, my child; personal charms, however attractive to the eye,
do not blind, or even engage the heart, unless they are accompanied by
good qualities, which would have their effect, you know, without
beauty--nay, even in ugly persons, when we become thoroughly acquainted
with them. Can you suppose, Ellen, that if you were as handsome as the
picture over the chimney-piece, that you would be more dear to me on that
account, or that you would, in any respect, contribute more to my
happiness?"

"You would not love me better, dear mamma, but yet you would be more proud
of me, I should think."

"Then I must be a very weak woman to be proud of that which implied no
merit, either in you or me, and which the merest accident might, as we
perceive, destroy in a moment; but this I must add, that if, with
extraordinary beauty, you possessed sufficient good sense to remain as
simple in your manners, and as active in the pursuit of intellectual
endowments, as I hope to see you, _then_ I might be _proud_ of you, as the
usual expression is; for I beg you to remember that, strictly speaking, it
is wrong to be proud of any thing."

"Zebby always said that Mr. Hanson was very proud of Matilda--I suppose it
was of her beauty."

"I suppose so too, and you could not have brought forward a more decisive
proof of the folly and sin of pride, and the inefficacy of beauty to
procure love, than in the conduct and qualities of the persons in question.
Mr. Hanson's pride of his daughter's beauty rendered him blind to her
faults, or averse to correcting them; and from his indulgence, the effect
of that very beauty for which he sacrificed every real excellence, was so
completely impaired, that I am sure, with all your predilection for a
pretty face, you will allow that Matilda, with all those red spots
plastered with white ointment, is a thousand times more agreeable than
Matilda with bright eyes and ruddy cheeks on her first landing."

"Oh yes, yes!" cried Ellen, looking at her with the tenderest affection,
and relapsing into tears, which had frequently visited her eyes since the
time of the terrible accident.

The opiate had now spent itself, and Matilda, giving a slight shudder,
awoke, and looked at Ellen with a kind of recollective gaze, that recalled
the events of the morning, and which was succeeded by a sense of pain.

"What is the matter, Ellen? you are crying--have you been scalded?"

"No," said the affectionate child, "but _you_ have."

A confused recollection of all the particulars of the affair now came to
Matilda's memory; and as by degrees they arose on her mind, she became
ashamed of the extreme impatience she had exhibited, and surprised that
Ellen could love and pity so much a girl whose conduct was so little likely
to ensure affection and respect; and although the pain became every moment
more troublesome, she forbore most magnanimously to complain, until the
changes in her complexion induced Mrs. Harewood to say,--"I think, Matilda,
we had better apply the ointment again to your wound--you are still
suffering from the fire, I see."

"If you please, ma'am."

With a light and skilful hand, Mrs. Harewood again touched the wounds, and
immediate ease followed; but ere she had finished her tender operation,
Matilda caught that kind hand, and, pressing it fondly to her lips, bathed
it with her tears; they were those of gratitude and contrition.

"I fear you are in much pain _still_," said her kind friend, though she
partly comprehended her feelings.

"Oh, no! you have given me ease; but if you had not, I would not have
minded, I feared, indeed I am certain, that I behaved very ill, quite
shamefully, this morning; and you are so--so good to me, that--that----"

Matilda was choked by her sobs, and Mrs. Harewood took the opportunity of
soothing her, not by praising her for virtues she had not exercised, but
by calling upon her to show them in her future conduct; although she did
so far conciliate as to say, that the suddenness of the injury, in some
measure, excused the violence she had manifested.

Matilda gave a deep sigh and shook her head, in a manner which manifested
how far this went in palliation, and was aware that much of error remained
unatoned. She inquired how Zebby was, and if she was sensible.

"She has been so ever since your accident, which appeared to recall her
wandering senses by fixing them to one point; and as her fever is really
abated, I trust she will soon be better."

Matilda hastily sprang from the sofa, and though in doing so she
necessarily greatly increased the pain under which she laboured, yet she
suppressed all complaint, and hurried forward to Zebby's room, followed by
Mrs. Harewood and Ellen; the former of whom was extremely desirous at once
to permit her to ease her heart, and yet to prevent her from injuring
herself, by adding to the inflammation of her wound.

It was a truly affecting spectacle to behold Matilda soothing and
comforting the poor black woman, who had not for a moment ceased to
reproach herself, since the screams of the young lady had brought her to
her senses, and her invectives to the knowledge of her own share in the
transaction. It was in vain that the nurse and the servants of Mrs.
Harewood had endeavoured to reconcile her, by the repeated assurance, that
let the young lady say what she pleased, yet no harm could reach her: that
in old England, every servant had law and justice as much on their side as
their master could have.

This was no consolation to the faithful negro, who appeared rather to
desire even unmerited punishment than seek for excuse; she incessantly
upbraided herself for having killed pretty Missy, and breaking the heart of
her good mistress; and when she beheld the plastered face of Matilda, these
self-reproaches increased to the most distressing degree, and threatened a
complete relapse to the disorder she had yet hardly escaped from.

"You could not help it, Zebby; it was all an accident, and ought to be
chiefly attributed to my own foolishness," said Matilda.

"Oh, no! it was me bad and foolish. Missy, me naughty, _same_ you used to
be--pushee here and pushee there, in bad pets--it was all me--breaky heart
of poor Missis--she comee over great seas; thinkee see you all good and
pretty as Englis lady; and den you be shocking figure, all cover with
spotee--oh deary! oh deary! perhaps come fever, then you go to the death,
you will be bury in dark hole, and mamma never, _never_ see you again."

The desponding tones of this speech went far beyond its words, and Matilda
combining with it the caution she had heard the medical gentleman make
respecting fever, and the first exclamation of Ellen, that--"Matilda was
scalded to death," induced her to suppose that there was really danger in
her case; and after repeatedly assuring Zebby of her entire forgiveness and
regard, she returned to the apartment she had quitted, with a slow step,
and an air of awe and solemnity, such as her friends had never witnessed
before.

After Matilda had lain down on the sofa some minutes, she desired Ellen to
get her materials for writing, but soon found that the pain in her breast
rendered it impossible for her to execute her design.

"I will write for you," said Ellen.

"That won't do--I wanted, with my own hand, to assure dear mamma that poor
Zebby was not to blame, nor any body else."

"My dear," said Mrs. Harewood, "we can do that by and by, when your mamma
comes over."

"But if, ma'am--if I should _die_?"

Mrs. Harewood could scarcely forbear an inward smile, but she answered her
with seriousness, and did not lose the opportunity of imprinting upon her
mind many salutary truths connected with her present situation, not
forgetting to impress strongly the necessity which every Christian has of
being ever ready to obey that awful summons, which may be expected at any
hour, and from which there is no appeal; but she concluded by an assurance
that in a few days the present disorder would be completely removed, in
case she guarded her own temper from impetuosity, and observed the regimen
prescribed to her.

When Matilda's fears on this most important point were subsided, she
adverted to her face, but it was only to inquire whether it was likely to
be well before her mother came, she being naturally and properly desirous
of saving her dear parent from any pain which could arise from her
appearance; and when her fears on this head were likewise relieved, she
became more composed in her spirits, and more anxious than ever to prove,
by future good conduct, her sense of contrition for the past, and
resolution for the future; and although she was most thankful for the
sympathy of her friends, she never sought it by useless complainings, or
aggravated her sufferings in order to win their pity or elicit their
praise; and by her perseverance and patience, a cure was obtained much
sooner than could have been expected from the nature of the accident.

Zebby regularly amended, as she perceived the great object of her anxiety
amend also; and the sense she entertained of her late danger, the gratitude
she felt for the kindness she had been treated with, and, above all, the
self-denial to which she perceived her young lady accustomed herself, in
order to recover, induced her henceforward to become temperate in her use
of food, and tractable as to the means necessary for preserving her health,
and to perceive her duty with regard to the commands given by her young
lady, to whom she was now more truly attached than ever: for the attachment
of improved minds goes far beyond that of ignorance.



CHAPTER X.


When Matilda was fully recovered from the pain of her accident, her good
friends had the satisfaction to perceive that the most salutary effects had
arisen from the disposition with which she had borne it. She had become
sensible how much we must all be indebted to our fellow-creatures, in any
privation of health and ease, and this had taught her to be humble and
thankful to all who contributed to her comfort; and from necessarily
suppressing both her appetite and her temper, she had gained a command of
both, which she had been a stranger to before. From being unable to join
in any play requiring personal activity, she had been obliged to find her
amusement in reading; and as that most excellent and delightful work, "The
Parent's Assistant," by Miss Edgeworth, had been presented to her just
before, she made herself completely mistress of those admirable tales,
and by conversing much upon them with Mr. and Mrs. Harewood, with whom she
usually sat, she became deeply imbued with all the important precepts they
are intended to convey, as well as the stories they so agreeably relate.

One evening, when the whole family were assembled, the disorder which had
afflicted Zebby became the subject of conversation; Miss Campbell
observing, "that the poor woman had undoubtedly been as nervous as any fine
lady, and therefore given another proof, in addition to the multitude which
must affect every person of judgment and feeling, that there was indeed no
difference of constitution, feeling, or character, between white people and
black ones, when they were placed in similar circumstances."

"Certainly not," said Mr. Harewood, "and in a short time this doctrine will
be more fully proved by the emancipation of all the blacks, who will, I
trust, become diligent servants and happy householders, no longer the
slaves of tyrants, but the servants of upright masters."

"But I am told, mamma," said Edmund, "that the proprietors of West India
property will all be ruined; people say, this will come upon them as a
retribution for past sins; but as many of these sins were committed in days
that are past, and the present inhabitants, in many instances, have behaved
exceedingly well, I must own I wish sincerely this may not be the case. Can
you tell me any thing about it?"

"They all deserve to be ruined," interrupted Charles, "who have done such
bad things as the planters do. Oh, how I wish I could be there when all
the slaves are set at liberty! with what delight should I join in their
universal shout of joy and freedom, and in all their innocent festivals!"

Edmund shook his head--"I should like the slaves to be happy as well as
you; but I don't like for any body to be ruined, especially people who are
so nerveless and inactive as those who have resided in warm islands; surely
it is not true?"

Edmund looked again inquiringly.

"I am sorry to say," answered Mrs. Harewood, "that in many cases much
suffering may be apprehended; but our government will undoubtedly soften
every evil to the inhabitants, as far as they can do it consistent with
their views: you know the emancipation of the slaves takes place gradually,
and by that means enables people to collect their money, to divert the
channels of their merchandise, or to make themselves friends of those who
have hitherto been held by the arm of power only. The grand shout of a
multitude restored to freedom is undoubtedly very attractive, and enough
to warm the heart of a benevolent enthusiast like Charles; but it is not
advisable to set food in great quantities before a starving man, lest he
eat himself into a surfeit. Ignorance is always in danger of using power
very ill, since we see that even the enlightened are frequently prone to
misuse it."

"Then I hope, mamma, it will turn out better than people think; and there
will be very little individual suffering from it."

"I am sorry to say, my dear, that notwithstanding what I have said, I yet
fear many persons will suffer; I know a widow myself, who is returning to
this country nearly destitute, after living many years in a state of
luxury; very happily she has only one child, and has not suffered her past
prosperity so to unnerve her mind, as to render her useless and desponding
in the day of adversity. On the contrary, she has the magnanimity to
rejoice in the freedom of the slaves, although that freedom has destroyed
her fortune."

At this moment, every eye was involuntarily bent on Matilda, who, feeling
undoubtedly some degree of compunction and shame, when she either thought
on her own former conduct, or the state of her country, had kept aloof till
now. At this moment she started, and, with a look of most anxious inquiry,
she cried--"Oh, ma'am! surely you do not mean my poor mamma? And yet--yes,
certainly you mean her--she has lived many years in prosperity--she has but
one child, and she is possessed of a pious, good heart, and a kind,
generous spirit, and would not wish the poor negroes to remain slaves--she
would rather work herself than injure any body. Dear Miss Campbell, pray
make me clever and good like yourself, and then I will be a governess, and
get money, and support dear mamma--_indeed_ I will."

The amazing rapidity with which these words were uttered, and the
perturbation of spirits which accompanied them, prevented Matilda from
perceiving that Mrs. Harewood was anxious to interrupt her; and even when
that good friend began to speak, she was too much affected and disturbed to
listen to her. She went on to say, with an agitated voice, but ingenuous
countenance--"I cannot help crying, to be sure; but indeed I am not sorry
that the poor slaves are to have their liberty, and I do not mind the money
we have lost; I only want to see my dear mamma, and to comfort her, and to
tell her that I would not be the mistress of bought slaves for all the
world; for I _now_ know that in the sight of God they are my equals, and if
good, my superiors. I _know_ that Jesus Christ died to save them as well as
me, and that he will not forgive them who insult him, by daring to buy and
sell those whom he has purchased with his own blood; and besides, I do not
wish to possess them; for if I did, I should be proud and cruel and
miserable, as I used to be."

The anxious, troubled heart of Matilda now found refuge in abundant tears,
and, throwing herself on the bosom of her maternal friend, she shed them
freely there; and as the storm of grief subsided, Mrs. Harewood obtained
her attention to these words--"My dear Matilda, your vivid imagination, and
the quickness of feeling, which even in a good cause is too apt to hurry
you away, have led you into unnecessary trouble; it is not _your_ mamma,
but a Mrs. Weston, of Jamaica, of whom I spoke. I can, however, scarcely
regret the pain you have experienced, because it has caused you to express
sentiments which do you honour, and which must give great pleasure to your
mother."

"But my mamma is coming over soon?"

"She _is_, my dear, but under very different circumstances, her property
being all well disposed of, and settled in the English funds; and be it
your comfort to know, that although your father was a proprietor of West
India estates, yet his fortune was not accumulated by the infamous traffic
to which we allude; although, like other people, he held slaves for the
purposes of agriculture and domestic labour, he had an estate in this
country, which enabled him to support an expensive establishment, without
recurring to those practices too common among the planters in your
country."

"And has the lady of whom you spoke no estate, no money, to support
herself and her little girl?"

"She has _not_, my dear; but I trust her friends in England will provide
her with some situation, in which her talents will enable her both to
support herself and benefit others; and by this means the cup of affliction
now may hereafter prove one of blessedness: her little girl is only six
years old, and will therefore be but a trifling expense to her for some
years to come."

Matilda now wiped her eyes, but was observed for a considerable time
involved in deep thought, and silent thanksgiving to God, and no one around
thought it right to interrupt the silent aspirations of her heart; but as
soon as her countenance resumed its usual expression, and she rose from her
seat, the young ones surrounded her, and with cheerful looks congratulated
her on the change in her feelings, which they were aware a few moments must
have produced; for, as Edmund observed, though it was very right to be
resigned to every change which it pleased God to send, yet it was
undoubtedly a great pleasure to know that a dear parent enjoyed not only
the power of living in her usual style of comfort, but that she preserved
the power of bestowing a part of her fortune to feed the poor, and to
communicate knowledge, and sow the seeds of virtue in the minds of the
young and uninformed.

Matilda listened to their congratulations with gratitude and pleasure, and
looked forward with exultation, chastened by a proper diffidence of
herself, to the time when, with her beloved mother, she should be employed
in acts of beneficence and social enjoyment--"So passing through things
temporal, as not to lose the things that are eternal."



CHAPTER XI.


On the following midsummer vacation, Mrs. Harewood complied with the wishes
of her young family, by consenting to give a ball to their young friends;
and as she disapproved very much of late hours, the whole party were
invited to dinner, in order that the dance might commence early.

The day previous to this entertainment was a very busy one, as the young
people were permitted to display their taste by arranging the ball-room,
and ornamenting it in the best manner they were able with flowers, under
the inspection and with the assistance of Miss Campbell. The boys, attended
by the footman, went out into the country, and returned laden with
beautiful spoils from the hedges and copses, consisting of branches of
trees, brushwood, and maythorn, together with those green plants which at
this season of the year are found in abundance, such as clivers, coltswort,
and the various mallows. When these were brought home, the young ladies
tied gay flowers, made of various-coloured paper, upon them, at distances,
with green worsted; and when these ornaments were finished, the branches
themselves were tied together with strong cord, which was hidden by the
foliage. By this means they were made into long wreaths, which were hung in
festoons all round the room, and had an exceedingly beautiful effect, while
over the doors and windows arches were formed of the same materials; but
when the greens were brought nearer to the eye, natural flowers were used,
which, being cut very short in the stem, preserved themselves fresh and
beautiful, and perfumed the place with the most delightful odours.

Though this employment was charming, yet it was necessarily fatiguing, and
the children went to bed at an early hour. Not long after they had retired,
Mr. and Mrs. Harewood heard a carriage, and while they were conjecturing
who it might be, to their great surprise, the long-expected stranger, Mrs.
Hanson, was announced.

They were truly rejoiced to see her; for, although personally unknown to
them, they were much disposed to esteem and love her, both from the style
of her letters, and the many traits of her conduct and character given by
Zebby, who was an able eulogist, since she ever spoke from the heart, and
although ignorant, was by nature acute and penetrating.

The anxious mother, sensible that forms were not necessary to be attended
to, in addressing the worthy couple to whom she came a welcome, though
unknown guest, first inquired after her only child. When told that she was
in bed, and fast asleep, having been much fatigued when she retired, she
immediately declared that she would not have Matilda awoke for her own
gratification--a declaration which confirmed the good opinion the family
already entertained of her. She could not, however, resist the very natural
desire she felt of beholding that dear object of her solicitude, from whom
she had been so long parted; and she therefore visited her room, and,
softly kissing her forehead, observed, to the great satisfaction of Mrs.
Harewood, that she had never seen her look so well before, which was
certainly the fact, though her weariness had induced some degree of
paleness.

Tears rose to the eyes of the fond mother, and often, often were they
turned to the bed which contained all her earthly treasure, ere she could
tear herself away; and Mrs. Harewood felt aware that silent prayers
occupied her heart for the future welfare and progressive virtue of a
being naturally so very dear, and whose bad passions, at the time of their
parting, had given so little rational hope of future felicity, either to
herself or her widowed parent. Sympathizing truly with her feelings, and
aware of the extreme delicacy of the subject, especially to one of whose
peculiar feelings she knew so little, Mrs. Harewood left it to time to
show the change in Matilda.

Mrs. Hanson was recalled from the fond reverie the sight of her daughter
had involved her in, by the voice of Zebby, who had only just learned the
arrival of that dear mistress she had ever so justly estimated. The two
ladies descended, and found the happy negro weeping for joy, and running
about the breakfast-parlour and dining-room, seeking for her lady, whom,
when she beheld, she danced about like a wild woman; one moment being
ready to cast herself at her feet, and the next longing to embrace her.

"I am very glad to see you, Zebby," said Mrs. Hanson, "and very happy to
find you still my daughter's servant, as I know you will suit her much
better in many respects than any Englishwoman possibly could."

"Me love Missy ver much, madam, but me no Missy maid now; me housemaid for
madam Harewood now; me makee de bed, sweepy de stair, do all sort ting; me
never wait on Missy, no, never."

Mrs. Hanson gave a deep sigh, and said to Mrs. Harewood--"I fear you have
had some trouble in procuring a maid for my daughter, ma'am?"

"When your daughter came to us, you may remember, my good madam, that we
undertook to treat her in every respect as if she were our own; we _have_
done it, and you will be able to judge to-morrow how far your dear girl
is benefited or injured by sharing the attentions of Ellen's nursemaid,
Ellen's governess, and Ellen's mother."

Mrs. Hanson felt that she was much indebted to the kindness evidently
intended by this arrangement, especially as it was a plain case, that
Zebby had been retained in the family for her accommodation; yet she could
not help thinking that the contrast between Matilda's past and present
situation was too great: although she had a thousand times desired that
some great change might be adopted in her education, yet her heart shrunk
at the idea of the discipline which she had so long felt to be necessary.
She was afraid that the terrible passions her child had manifested, had
rendered terrible changes necessary, and a train of inflictions and
privations arose to her view, which maternal tenderness was unequal to
contemplate unmoved; she therefore apologized to her friends, and retired
to her room, but her pillow was strewed with those thorns which solicitude
had planted there.



CHAPTER XII.


The following morning the young people arose early, and were surprised to
find Mrs. Harewood also stirring; her amiable, affectionate heart promised
itself a treat, in witnessing the sweet emotions of Matilda, on hearing
the joyful tidings of her mother's arrival; nor was she disappointed--the
delighted girl manifested all the rapture of which her warm susceptible
heart was capable; and on hearing her mother slept in the crimson room, was
hastily bending her steps to the chamber, thus named from the colour of the
bed.

"But, my dear, it is yet early; your mamma was much fatigued with her long
journey from Falmouth: is it not a pity to disturb her, especially as she
has already seen and kissed you, although she would not awake you?"

Matilda stopped--"I do _so_ wish to see mamma," said she, "and to hear her
speak! but then to awake her for my own pleasure would be selfish, as I
used to be--I won't be selfish."

"That's right, my dear--you are now proving yourself truly
affectionate--you are preferring mamma to yourself."

"But I may just stand at the door and listen to her breathing, and so wait
till she moves."

"Certainly, my dear."

Away flew Matilda, happiest of the happy; and she had scarcely been ten
minutes on her station when Mrs. Hanson's bell rang, and Matilda instantly
opened the door, in silent but delightful expectation.

"Is my daughter awake?" said the fond mother.

"Oh, yes, yes, dear mamma, I am here!" cried she, springing to the
outstretched arms of her loved parent, who, in embracing her joyfully,
yet felt solicitude mingle with her joy, from the consciousness that her
earthly happiness was centred in this single object, and that upon her
future conduct rested the peace of both.

Mrs. Hanson did not rise for some hours, and her daughter breakfasted with
her, and spent the time principally in making inquiries after their old
friends in Barbadoes, so that Mrs. Hanson had no opportunity of observing
how her daughter was looked upon in the family, and on this eventful day,
the ball in the evening was naturally the subject uppermost on Matilda's
mind, so that there was yet no development of her real improvement.

At length Mrs. Hanson arose; her maid came in to dress her, and whilst this
took place, the mother beheld with delight the improvement which had taken
place in her darling's person, which was taller, and considerably better
formed, as she had cured herself of stooping, and all her motions indicated
sprightliness and agility.

Whilst Mrs. Hanson congratulated herself on this appearance, Zebby tapped
at the door, and, on being admitted, said, with a very long face and
doleful accent--"Oh dear, Missy, very bad ting have happened; de milliner
have sentee home Miss Ellen new frock, and no sentee yours. She say she
cannot makee till next week, because she very busy for little girls that
losee their mamma, and must have blackee clothes to-morrow day."

Mrs. Hanson's heart sunk, and she felt as if her pleasure for this day at
least was over, for she fully expected to see Matilda fly into a rage with
the messenger, the milliner, and indeed all the house; and she could
scarcely believe her own senses, when Matilda replied calmly--"Well, Zebby,
it cannot be helped, and it does not signify much; I am sure Mrs. Harewood
will excuse my want of a new dress on this occasion. To be sure, I should
have liked to look the same as dear Ellen; but how can I think of such a
trifling disappointment, when I remember it was caused by those unhappy
children, who are now mourning for their mamma?"

So saying, she turned, and eagerly threw her arms round a mother, who, in
the course of her whole life, had not embraced her with equal satisfaction;
but before she had time to express her pleasure, and injure her who caused
it, by the exaggerated praise which sprung to her lips, Matilda had run
down stairs, just to peep at Ellen's new dress, speak of the delight she
experienced in having gained her mother's society, and consult Miss
Campbell as to the frock she must substitute for the one intended to be
worn; and when Mrs. Hanson was left alone, she almost fancied that the
foregoing scene was a kind of drama, which had been introduced for the
purpose of surprising and pleasing her.

But observation confirmed her hopes, and justified her happiness. She
descended at dinner-time, and was introduced to the children of the family,
who, although little seen among so large a party, yet won her regard, from
the unaffected kindness and ease with which they treated her daughter; and
she observed, with approbation, that Matilda and Ellen were dressed exactly
alike; the latter having declined wearing the frock bought for her, since
her friend's could not be procured. Mrs. Hanson could not fail to love
Ellen, in whose countenance the good temper, modesty, and sensibility which
characterized her, were strongly expressed; but she had not much time to
comment upon it, for the young party were now coming in, and attention
was in some degree divided. In a short time dinner was announced, and the
company, about thirty in number, were soon commodiously arranged round the
hospitable table.

Mrs. Harewood had thought it right to disperse her own family among her
guests, in order that they might pay proper attention to those near them,
as by that means she hoped that none of the invited would be neglected; and
according to this arrangement, which was made the preceding day, Matilda
took the place appointed for her, which happened to be at some distance
from her mamma, who sat, of course, next to Mrs. Harewood. In the bustle of
so large a party, Mrs. Hanson could scarcely observe even her daughter at
the beginning of the meal; but when the second course came in, she saw with
some pain a large dish of custards placed exactly before Matilda; and on
one of the company observing she had never seen such a noble dish of
custards before, Mrs. Hanson said--"Matilda is remarkably fond of them; I
am sorry they are so near her, for they are not wholesome."

"We seldom have such things on that account," said Mrs. Harewood; "but I
must own I think them well placed, because Matilda can help her friends
to them with ease."

These words drew the attention of the young ones, and Matilda soon received
so many plates to supply, that there appeared little probability of her
sharing in the feast. Edmund was near her, and gladly receiving his
mother's approving smile, he secured one for Matilda, which he put upon
her plate just before the last was demanded.

Ellen was equally busy distributing tarts near the bottom of the table. The
footman brought her a custard, which he said Miss Hanson had sent for her.

"She is very good," said Ellen, "but I had rather take a jelly, if she will
excuse my returning it."

The happy mother perceived that Matilda had sent Ellen the very custard
which Edmund's kindness had ensured for _her_. Delicious tears sprang to
her eyes; she perceived that Matilda was indeed a different creature; that
she had not only conquered a disgraceful propensity, but acquired a habit
of generous attention to others, of which there was at one period no hopes
in her character.

The dancing now commenced, and the West Indian acquitted herself with great
propriety; for although she did not perform so well as the greater part of
the company, yet she was never awkward; and when at a loss for the figure,
she listened with modesty, and obeyed with precision the rules laid down to
her. Many of the party now assembled were amiable and obliging, but in so
large a number, some were of course present, whose manners were less
agreeable: but as Matilda considered herself one of the family, so she
deemed it her duty to partake their cares, and render every person as happy
as possible. She neither suffered rudeness to disturb her temper, nor
awkwardness to excite her contempt; her conduct, under every temptation of
this nature, was uniformly marked by self-command, modesty, and civility.

There was in this young party two Master Eustons, who, happening to be
richer and a little older than the rest of the party, thought themselves
entitled to quiz all around them at some times, and lord it over them at
others. On their first coming into the room, they sought out Matilda, as
a proper companion for them, because they had heard her named as a great
West-Indian heiress; but when they saw her a modest, unassuming girl, they
rather shunned her, as not being likely to enter into their sports. These
boys would not have been voluntarily chosen as companions for his own by
such a careful and observant father as Mr. Harewood, but they were the
nephews of an old friend of his, and were then on a visit to their uncle,
who would have felt himself neglected if Mr. Harewood had not invited
them; and as, that gentleman very justly observed to his excellent lady,
his children must necessarily mix with the world, both at school and
elsewhere, it was desirable that they should do it sometimes under the eye
of those kind parents, who might teach them how to distinguish what was
good, and lead them, from general company, to choose particular society.

There was also a young lady who wished to render herself the particular
companion of Matilda, for the same reason the Eustons had done, because she
considered her the most wealthy child in the place; and from her person,
and the elegance she observed in her mamma's dress and manners, she
concluded that in a few years she would be the most dashing. It is
astonishing how soon the eye of even a child can discriminate, in that
particular which has been rendered the sole subject of its studies and the
grand object of its wishes; so that people who pique themselves upon being
men of the world, or women of fashion, are rivalled in all their boasted
knowledge and discernment by young creatures, whose faculties they may deem
very inefficient, and which are indeed so in all the higher requisites of
mind and the attainments of knowledge.

The parents of Miss Holdup, the young lady in question, had acquired a
large fortune, but were both called, at a very early period, from the
enjoyment of it; and this their only child was placed, by the will of her
father, under the sole guardianship of his solicitor, a man of integrity
and of large fortune, and without any children of his own; so that the
little girl had apparently every blessing her desolate situation demanded,
for kindness was accorded to her in the family, as an orphan, without a
rival, and her fortune was well secured by the skill of her guardian.

But, alas! false judgment and mistaken indulgence rendered this situation
totally subversive of her improvement and her happiness; the lady to whose
care she was immediately consigned was a vain and dissipated woman, who had
no greater pleasure than in spending the fortune, laboriously acquired by
her industrious spouse, in all the various amusements the metropolis
presents to the idle and extravagant part of the community; and although
she was what is generally termed a very good-natured woman, yet the moment
her schemes of diversion or expense were thwarted, she could be as pettish,
sullen, or even vulgar and violent, as the lowest servant. She piqued
herself on being a woman of family, and when little Miss Holdup came into
her household, the first care she took with her was to eradicate, as far as
possible, the memory of her parents, and all their former connections, from
her mind.--"My dear child, now you are, by great good fortune, got into a
gentleman's family, remember you must never mention those creatures in the
city your mamma used to visit. I must have no cheese-factor cousins
introduced at my table; no, nor even the great linen-draper's daughter that
gave you the doll; you have money enough to buy dolls of your own, and must
have no more concern with those kind of people now."

"But," said the child, "I suppose I may talk about Miss Turner and her
sister Anne, because they nursed me through the measles, and my father said
I must always be grateful--I suppose he meant thankful, ma'am, for their
kindness."

"Who are they, child? if they are decent people, it alters the case
entirely."

"They are not decent people," said the child, pettishly; "they are very
genteel people, and dress quite beautifully, and have a country-house,
where I have played many a time; and they have a fine instrument, and more
books than you have, and I love them dearly."

"But who are they, my dear?"

"Why, to be sure, they are their father's daughters, Mr. Turner, the great
baker; every body knows Mr. Turner's shop, I suppose."

The lady was distressed. She began a speech, endeavouring to prove, that
although gratitude was very good in its place, yet, when it was advisable
to forget its object, then it was no longer good, but foolish, and
improper, and unfashionable; but she checked herself in the midst of this
exordium, by recollecting that the intellects of her pupil were unequal to
all investigation, but that her inclination, youth, and temper could be
more easily wrought upon. She began to load her with finery, take her to
the play, though she fell asleep in the second act, speak of her in her own
hearing as a wit and a beauty, shake her head knowingly whenever her city
connections were alluded to; and therefore it was no wonder that in a short
time the child forgot the friends she had loved, grew ashamed of the
parents she had honoured, learnt to prattle on subjects of which she knew
nothing, and to affect all the premature airs of a woman, with more than
the usual ignorance of a child, as children are now usually instructed.

Perhaps a womanized child of this description is the most disagreeable
thing in existence, and is rendered only the more so, from any talent or
natural acuteness it may happen to possess, since that never fails to give
a spice of sin to what would otherwise be mere folly. The thinking mind
shudders at the airs of infantine coquetry and malicious sneers, which are
merely ludicrous to another stander-by; but how any person can be either
indifferent to such a waste and perversion of human nature, or behold it
with pleasure, is inconceivable. Mrs. Thornton was, however, so far the
dupe of her own folly, that she conceived Miss Holdup the finest child she
had ever known, and a decisive proof of her own talents for education. It
was true, she had lavished upon her all her stores of information, in the
same way that, agreeably to her own notions of dress and pleasure, she had
expended upon her sums which her husband thought prodigious; and the result
of both had been to make her what might be truly called a grand serious
pantomime, or an artificial curiosity, for nature was completely banished
her composition.

"Look at my lovely ward," she would exclaim, in rapture; "how totally
different she is from any other child! she will never be mistaken for one
of the lower order!"

True; but neither could she be mistaken for a gentlewoman: the appearance
of the child was that of a figurante, ready equipped for her part at the
opera; for, although in her twelfth year, she wore trowsers and petticoats
that did not reach to her knees; they were, it is true, trimmed with the
most costly Mechlin, formed by the most tasteful milliner; but as her shape
was by no means graceful, and her mode of life, by harassing her into puny
ill health, kept her wretchedly thin, she resembled at a distance a small
windmill about to be set in motion; and when near her, it was impossible
not to believe that her clothes had been stripped to the middle, for the
sake of washing her bony shoulders perfectly clean.

But, alas! the interior was more naked, or dressed in some parts merely
for exhibition: the poor child knew the steps of the last new dance and
the name of new music; she could finger a little, and knew a few words of
French from the vocabulary; but to the history of her country she was a
perfect stranger, and, what was far worse, was ignorant of all religion,
all duties. When she was out of temper, which was an increasing evil as
she grew up, she was told only that it "spoiled her face;" if she were
guilty of gluttony, she was warned against injuring her shape; but the real
motive of good action, the foundation of pure principles, the necessity of
self-control, were utterly unknown to her; she never saw them acted upon,
nor heard them explained.

Such was the girl who now, with a bustling parade of affection, singled out
Matilda as the only child whom she thought worthy of her patronage, and
whom she intended to win and to use, when it suited her, in the very same
way that ladies of twice her age so frequently make their selection of
friends in the acquaintance of an hour.

Miss Holdup was disappointed in perceiving that Matilda did not act as if
she were much pleased, or much flattered, by her partiality; but this she
imputed to pride, and being very proud herself, she concluded that, on a
little farther acquaintance, it would only render them better friends.
Besides, she observed that Ellen was at present the dearest friend of
Matilda; and although she considered this a degrading choice, yet she had
patience to wait, and cunning enough to aid, the time when Matilda should
see the superiority of such a girl as herself to poor Ellen, whom she
concluded to be simple, because she perceived her to be modest and mild.

In the blithesome round of gaiety inspired by dancing, designs and airs of
all kinds were for a time forgotten, and the sprightly movements of the
feet kept pace with the hilarity of heart which banishes, for a time, all
those unnatural combinations which disgrace the ingenuous breast of early
life; but when a pause was given for the purpose of refreshment, various
little parties were formed for conversation, and Miss Holdup contrived to
monopolize Matilda, in a way that was painful to Ellen, disrespectful to
the rest of the party, and embarrassing to her who was thus singled out;
who became, with some, an object of envy, because the most fashionable girl
distinguished her; with others, one of contempt, for the same reason. It
will be readily conceived that Miss Holdup was never insignificant: where
she did not attract admiration, she never failed to excite contempt: and
as the party were, of course, for the most part amiable and well-educated
children, whom Mr. and Mrs. Harewood held up as examples to their own, so
the greater number, by many, regarded this young lady as a weak, ridiculous
girl, whose appearance excited surprise and disgust, and whom nothing but
good manners could prevent them from laughing at; and Matilda felt herself
involved, from her union with her, in that kind of snare which, of all
others, was the most galling to her, as from her very cradle she could
never endure to be laughed at.

Mrs. Harewood perceived, from the expression of her countenance, that she
laboured under very considerable vexation, and she was at times afraid
that, by some irritating expression or haughty toss, Matilda would tarnish
the honours of the day, by giving a pang to the heart of that fond and
still happy parent, whose eyes were continually bent upon her, but who
wished to see her act on the present occasion, without those influences her
more immediate presence was likely to inspire. While with all the anxiety
of a true friend, this good lady watched Matilda, a quick rattling sound
was heard against the windows, and Matilda, a little surprised by the
sound, and desirous of escaping the tedious and affected conversation of
Miss Holdup, inquired what it was that she heard.

"Quiz the West Indian," said the younger Euston; "she never saw it hail
before."

With a very grave face, the elder immediately came up to her, and told her
it was raining comfits--"If you please," said he, "you may see them through
the windows, for it is not dark, though the moon is clouded."

Matilda went eagerly to the window, for she was curious to observe a
phenomenon entirely new to her. She soon perceived thousands of little
balls, that fell as hard as stones, lying on the ground and the window
frames, and she was desirous of examining them further; but just as she was
turning to make inquiries of her friend Edmund, young Euston interrupted
her, by saying--"Well, Miss Hanson, you now see the comfits; would you like
to taste them? if you please, I will get you a spoonful."

"I should like to have a few certainly," replied she, "and will feel
obliged to you to procure me some of them."

"Hush, hush!" said the young ones to each other, all desirous to see how
Matilda would look, many merely from that love of play which is inherent at
their age, others from a malicious spirit which is too frequently blended
with a passion for fun. Mr. Harewood apparently took no notice, but he
hovered about them, and had the satisfaction of hearing several girls
condemn the Eustons, and profess an intention of saving Matilda from
swallowing the cold hailstones.

"You may be easy," said Edmund, as they stood consulting together on the
subject, when in ran the youth with eagerness, crying--"Here is a spoonful
of beautiful comfits; now open your mouth and shut your eyes--that is the
way to taste them in perfection."

"Thank you, sir; I do not want to eat them; I know they must be snow, some
kind of condensed snow, or ice, and I wished to examine them."

"Snow! how you talk!--it never snows in July."

"It never snows at all in my country--of course I know little about it; but
unless Edmund assures me to the contrary, I shall certainly conclude that
these little balls are frozen rain-drops, of the same nature with snow."

"You are perfectly right, Matilda," said Edmund, "and you have quizzed your
quizzers very completely."

"Miss Hanson has studied natural philosophy," said a young lady,
sneeringly, being one of those who sought Miss Holdup's acquaintance. "I
always thought that young ladies in the West India islands studied physical
subjects more than any other."

"Physical subjects!" exclaimed several of the party; "how very strange a
study! what a very singular thing for girls to think of!"

"I think you are quite mistaken," said Ellen, with more spirit than was
usual to her; for, although she could not conceive that there was any harm
in the study, she saw plainly that some spleen was intended against
Matilda, and she loved her too dearly, to stand by whilst any wound was
inflicted which her interference might avert. Though the most gentle and
unoffending in her nature, yet she was capable of warm and active
friendship, and, of course, was not a little astounded and hurt when the
young lady replied--"Surely, Miss Harewood, you cannot be ignorant that all
our great medical practitioners torture and kill animals, for the purpose
of ascertaining the nature of diseases, and, in many cases, undoubtedly for
the purpose of learning how much suffering bodies of a certain size and
texture are capable of enduring? Now I don't doubt, Miss Hanson, being so
wise in other matters, can tell you exactly how much pain is necessary to
kill a slave, how many stripes a child can endure, and how long hunger,
beating, and torturing, may be applied without producing death; and prove
that in case they do destroy a few blackies, that don't signify, if they
can afford to buy more."

"Well, and suppose Miss Hanson did kill some of those creatures," cried
Miss Holdup, "she can afford to buy more; at least, her mamma can, which is
much the same; though to be sure, 'tis a fine thing to be independent. For
my part, I think there is ten times more said about those filthy negroes
than signifies: dear me! they are not to compare to my Frisky; 'tis the
most angelic creature of a dog! worth fifty blacks any day, unless, to be
sure, they were in handsome liveries."

Matilda had suffered in every nerve while the first lady spoke, but the
defence of the second hurt her ten times more, as it appeared to indicate a
hardness of heart, a daring to make light of a most solemn subject, and one
to which she had given much serious thought, and she hastily plucked away
the arm Miss Holdup had taken, and would have retired, but she was hemmed
in by a circle, and could not escape. The young lady replied to her
advocate, in a fawning voice--"Ah, dear Miss Holdup! you are fond of
defending any body you take a fancy for; but I am certain, if you were
really on the spot, you could not bear to _see_ those things your _new_
friend has been in the habit of _doing_. I am told, mere children amuse
themselves in Barbadoes with sticking pins into the legs of little
children, dropping scalding sealing-wax upon their arms, and cutting lines
and stars in their necks with knives and scissors."

"Yes," added one of the Eustons, "and the most delicate ladies are waited
upon by naked slaves, whose bare backs are probably bleeding from the
recent effects of a sound whipping, inflicted, probably, because Missy's
dolly had fallen, and broken her nose, out of Missy's own hands."

"Shocking creatures!"--"Dreadful wretches!"--"Wicked creatures!"--"How
terrible!"--"How abominable!" were exclamations naturally uttered on every
side, and those who, on Matilda's innocent triumph, had in the first
instance pressed around her, now withdrew from her side, shrinking as from
something monstrous and loathsome in nature; and such was the bustle and
confusion between those who were eager to inquire, and those who were more
eager to inform, that the few who endeavoured to divert attention from the
subject, or insist upon the pictures presented being overcharged, could not
be heard.

Matilda, overwhelmed with burning blushes, was utterly unable to articulate
a syllable, much less to stem the torrent which, in accusing her country in
general terms, was aimed at her in particular: her conscience accused her
of many crimes, which, though far removed from atrocity like this, were yet
utterly unjustifiable, and, as she now believed, might have led to the
utmost limits of tyranny, cruelty, and oppression; and all she felt or
feared in her own conduct, seemed to rise to her memory, and stamp
conscious guilt on her expressive features; and while thus labouring under
the torments of a wounded spirit, the Eustons, rejoicing in her confusion,
pointed it out as a certain proof of her conscience upbraiding her, and a
fresh volley of crimes and accusations were poured forth. It was in vain
that Edmund attempted to be heard, and that Charles challenged every one to
fight in her behalf, and that Ellen, with distressed vociferation and tears
gushing into her eyes, kept again and again exclaiming--"It is _not_
true--I am sure it is not; there are many good people in the West Indies,
and nobody can be so wicked in the wide world. You tell these tales on
purpose to make us ill--fie! fie!"

The agonized countenance of Ellen, by presenting a striking contrast to its
usual expression of mild benevolence, told Mr. Harewood it was time for him
to interfere. He had, for some minutes, hovered near, perceiving some kind
of conspiracy, and thinking that his presence would be less observed than
that of either of the ladies; and at his near approach, the aggrieved,
accused, discomfited Matilda, whose eyes had been long cast on the ground,
ventured to look up; for although she had a considerable general feeling
of awe for Mr. Harewood, yet she had the most perfect reliance on his
justice and kindness; and ashamed and conscious of past error as she now
was, she yet felt assured of his protection and mercy.

The moment her eye met his, she felt all her hopes confirmed; and in the
joy and exultation it gave her, she acquired strength to burst through the
crowd; rushing forward, she sought refuge in his arms, and laid her burning
cheek on the kind hand he extended towards her.

Ellen, at this moment, was, for the first time, attended to, as she cried
out, with still stronger pathos--"Dear papa, I am so glad you are here! for
you will tell us the _truth_--you will convince every body, that people in
the West Indies do not torture their poor slaves for nothing but their own
wicked pleasure."

"My dear little advocate, as I have never been in the West Indies, I have
no right to contradict such evidence as has been brought forward by
respectable witnesses."

A cry of exultation began to pass the lips of the Euston party; but they
were silent, as Mr. Harewood began to speak again.

"I am the more inclined to think these cruelties may sometimes take place
in our islands, because I have myself witnessed similar effects in this
country, where the barbarians who practised them were much curtailed in
their power, and proved rather the disposition than the actual treatment
of which you speak towards their unhappy victims."

"Indeed!" exclaimed they, with anxious curiosity, pressing nearer to the
speaker.

"Yes," added Mr. Harewood, raising his voice, and assuming a serious
aspect, "I have this very evening heard words applied to the heart of an
unoffending individual, more painful than the lash, and seen looks directed
against her, more torturing than any of the hateful operations you have
mentioned; and I have not the least hesitation in saying, that those who
could thus treat an amiable fellow-creature, and one who, as a stranger,
is thrown upon their kindness, and entitled at least to their politeness,
would, if they had the power, wound the body also, and might, by hardening
their hearts against the claims of humanity, in a short time become capable
of every possible enormity."

An awful silence, strikingly contrasted with the late lively dance and
its following conversational bustle, now sat on every tongue; the
self-convicted were ashamed of their conduct, the doubtful satisfied, and
the friendly delighted; and desirous of stamping an important lesson, in
the moment of awakened feeling and intelligence, Mr. Harewood continued to
say--"Human nature, alas! is full of bad propensities; and when situation
and the power of indulgence strengthen them, no wonder that man becomes
selfish first, then hard-hearted, and lastly, even ferocious towards
others. When, enlightened by education and taught by religion, he rises
from this state of barbarity, and becomes not only civilized, but humane,
gentle, condescending, and charitable, he merits great praise, for he has
achieved great labour--he has conquered great difficulty; the very angels
in heaven rejoice over him; and this child, this blushing, trembling,
self-condemning, but self-corrected child, has done this. Look up, my dear
Matilda! let who will sneer at you, I am proud of you; and there is not one
person present who would not honour themselves, if they could secure your
friendship. I was the first to correct you, nor will I ever flatter you;
but I will always protect and defend you, so long as you continue to merit
the high regard I now feel for you."

The sweetest tears she had ever shed now ran down the cheeks of Matilda,
as Mr. Harewood pronounced this eulogy; and it will be easily conceived,
that all the really good and sensible part of the company eagerly sought
to soothe her spirits, and convince her of their regard, while her late
tormentors either slunk away, as much ashamed as they were despised, or
by an ingenuous confession of error, paved the way for returning esteem.

Miss Holdup arrogated to herself great praise for having defended what she
called the right side; and so delighted was poor Ellen with every body and
every thing which favoured her young friend, that she began to take a great
fancy to the silly affected girl, merely because she thought that she loved
Matilda; but Matilda herself felt that her severest pang had arisen from
the very defence thus adopted; and while she thanked Miss Holdup for her
good wishes, she yet shrank more than ever from forming an intimate
acquaintance with one whom she considered as little better than an
automaton figure on which fine clothes might be hung, and whose tongue had
been taught to move, for the purpose of repeating the silly gibberish which
ill-formed women repeat to uninformed children, in order to render them as
stupid, proud, and silly as themselves.

On the following day, the party were naturally the subject of conversation,
and Mrs. Hanson had great pleasure in finding that the bedizened doll, who
had been so decidedly her daughter's companion the evening before, was by
no means her chosen one, that distinction being reserved for Ellen only,
whose kind heart would have been almost broken, had she imagined such a
partiality indeed reciprocal, but who was as free from jealousy of Miss
Holdup, as she was full of confidence in Matilda.

Mrs. Harewood on this occasion remarked, that she had never seen two girls
more likely to form a mutual and lasting friendship than Ellen and Matilda,
because they were likely mutually to benefit each other, since they would,
she trusted, possess the same good principles and dispositions, but each
having a character of her own, would become serviceable to the other.
Matilda had more discrimination and firmness than Ellen, who, on her part,
had a forbearance, patience, and gentleness, which nature as well as habit
had in a degree left her friend but poorly provided with; but she said it
would not be surprising if their mutual affection and reciprocal admiration
should, in time, ingraft the virtues of each upon the other, and she hoped
to see Matilda as meek as Ellen, and Ellen as firm and energetic as
Matilda.



CHAPTER XIII.


The happy family-party at Mr. Harewood's was necessarily soon broken up,
as Mrs. Hanson took a house at Brompton, on account of the mildness of
the air, and the young friends were then separated. Their removal was
facilitated by the arrival of that West-Indian lady and her little girl,
whom we have already mentioned, as being stripped of nearly all her
possessions, and whom Mr. and Mrs. Harewood were desirous of accommodating
in their house, until some plan for her future situation should be fixed
upon. They were not of that number who can receive a rich friend with
pleasure, and leave a poor one to shift for themselves; on the contrary,
Mrs. Weston and her little Harriet were received by them, not only with
affection, but with all consideration due to her former situation.

As soon as Mrs. Hanson had arranged her household at Brompton, she hastened
to invite Mr. and Mrs. Harewood and their family to spend an early day
with her, and was then introduced to Mrs. Weston, whom she knew well by
report, and for whose altered situation she was truly concerned, especially
after she became acquainted with her, as the suavity of her manners, the
quiet dignity of mind, and unaffected resignation with which she bore her
misfortunes, could not fail to prepossess her in favour of so wise and good
a sufferer, who was likewise so cheerful and willing to be happy.

Harriet was a little girl, about six years old at this time, a tolerably
good child but certainly subject to the same errors (though in a far less
degree) which had formerly distinguished Matilda; and as she wanted
incessantly somebody to do something for her, and there was no longer a
slave at her command, her mother was too frequently obliged to be that
servant--a circumstance which rendered the young Harewoods much less fond
of Harriet than they would otherwise have been, and which, at times, tried
the temper of even the gentle Ellen.

Matilda's whole mind was absorbed by this little girl, on whom she
continually cast looks of the deepest interest; her mother imputed the
serious air she wore to a regret very natural at her age, on revisiting
the house where she had been so happy, and she felt some fears lest it
should continue to haunt her mind: she had likewise many forebodings as to
the future education of her daughter, being sensible that she had enjoyed
advantages in Mr. Harewood's house of no common character; and she very
candidly related all that was passing in her mind to that kind lady, whose
maternal love for her child rendered her the most proper judge for the
future, as she had proved herself the truest friend for the past.

Mrs. Harewood very strenuously recommended her to procure a good governess
for her daughter, as it was hardly to be expected that she could bring
herself to part with her only child, otherwise a school might have been
more advantageous to a girl of such an active and social disposition; but,
above all, she pressed Mrs. Hanson to endeavour to preserve in her that
spirit of humility which never fails to produce obedience, subdue passion,
and open the mind for the reception and nurture of every virtue.

On the arrival of Mrs. Hanson, Mrs. Harewood had left the real improvements
of Matilda to be discovered by circumstances; and as the mother and
daughter were seldom apart, she had not spoken of the kind and charitable
actions which Matilda had performed, fearful of injuring by praise those
blossoms which were now only beginning to expand; but she now dilated on
them with pleasure, both to the happy mother and Mrs. Weston; and such was
the effect of this discourse on the former, that tears of pleasure and
gratitude to Heaven ran down her cheek. Matilda, although still engaged
with the child, catching a view of her mother under this emotion, could not
forbear running up to her, and tenderly inquired what was the matter.

"Nothing at all, my love, at least nothing painful; we have been speaking
of you--I am anxious to engage you a governess."

"Well, mamma, and will Mrs. Weston be so good as to undertake me?"

The ladies all started, but by no means with any symptom of dismay,
although Mrs. Hanson said, with some confusion, to Mrs. Weston--"My little
girl takes a great liberty, ma'am, but you must pardon her premature
request; she fancies you are an old friend, I believe, because you are her
countrywoman."

"I wish sincerely I had any other claim to being considered her friend,
madam, as in that case----"

Mrs. Weston suddenly checked herself, her colour rose, and the tears stood
in her eyes.

"Suffer me, my dear friend, to interpret your silence for Mrs. Hanson;--in
_that_ case you would not object to undertaking the charge which Matilda
has very innocently, though very abruptly, been willing to assign to you?"

"If you are a faithful interpreter, I will call you a most agreeable one,"
said Mrs. Hanson, "for Mrs. Weston would be an equal acquisition to both me
and my daughter."

Mrs. Weston wiped her eyes--"Believe me, dear ladies," said she, "I am
grateful for your good opinion, and truly desirous of profiting by your
kind offer; but you are both mothers, and will, I am certain, consider my
situation as such. I am but newly arrived; it will take some time to wean
my poor child from her habits; and to send one so very young to school, is
a painful consideration; in a few months I shall be happy indeed to avail
myself of your goodness, and enter with pleasure on so promising a task."

Mrs. Hanson was just going to express her entire approbation of this
proposal, when Matilda, with a modest, but earnest air, entreated
permission to speak, which was immediately granted.

"Do not think me vain nor presuming, dear Mrs. Weston, if I say, that,
whilst you are my governess, I will, with my mamma's permission, become
little Harriet's governess; I am quite sure it will do us both a great
deal of good, for she will every hour remind me how much more naughty and
tiresome and provoking I used to be when I first came over, and teach me to
endure with patience, and remove with gentleness and firmness, the errors
which, in so young and engaging a child, claim my compassion rather than
blame. I shall love her very dearly, I am certain, because I see she is of
a loving temper, notwithstanding her faults; and I am certain, if she feels
as I do, she will love me for curing her of them; then I will teach her all
I know, and as I shall improve every day, you know I shall improve her
also! Dear mamma, pray let me try! I do not know any way in which a girl
like me can show gratitude to God so effectually, as in endeavouring to
make my fellow-creature as happy as myself, and especially my own little
countrywoman."

The tenderness and earnestness with which this request was urged, as
well as the excellent motive, ensured its success; and in a few days the
mother and daughter removed together to Brompton, and a regular system of
education was entered upon, which was indeed attended with the most happy
effects, although it is probable that Matilda found her new office abound
with trials, of which she could form no idea until experience taught her.
It is however certain, that she received as much benefit as she
communicated, and that she learned the lessons of virtue whilst imparting
them to her little pupil, who proved a very tractable and intelligent
child, after she had become weaned from those habits which were in a great
measure inseparable from her late situation in life. It is probable that
but for this stimulus to her exertions, Matilda would have neglected her
education, and sunk into indolent habits, for want of those excitements
which she had found in the society of Ellen and her brothers; whereas now
she endeavoured, at every meeting with this dear family, to exhibit some
improvement or attainment in her pupil, and these were inevitably connected
with her own.

But notwithstanding the advantages Matilda possessed, and her earnest
desire to profit by them, and even the actual improvement she evinced, our
young readers must not suppose either that she was perfect, or that she had
attained that standard of excellence of which she was capable. Many a
moment of petulance occurred with her provoking little pupil, and airs of
arrogance were apt to swell her bosom, upon those occasions which called
out the superiority of her fortune, or the exhibition of those talents
which could not fail to be remarked in her situation of life. But on these
occasions it was never difficult for Mrs. Weston or her good mamma to
recall her to a sense of the folly and guilt of indulging such a temper;
for her religious principles were deeply ingrafted, and her sensibility
genuine and active; so that the moment her mind perceived that she was
wounding a fellow-creature, and thereby offending God, her heart revolted
from her own conduct, and she lost not a moment in retracting the
assertions of anger, and rendering, as far as she was able, every atonement
for her error.



CHAPTER XIV.


Time passed, and the children of either house exhibited those gradual
changes which are scarcely perceptible to a parent's eye, under which they
so constantly remain. The young men exchanged school for college; the
girls, under the protecting guardianship of their mothers, were taken into
public; and a new sense of care, on a new ground, pervaded those anxious
hearts, which beat but for their beloved offspring, and which were perhaps
most solicitous for them, at the time they were indulging the innocent and
artless gaiety natural to their age.

As Edmund Harewood had ever been a thoughtful youth, and possessed talents
which were likely to render his study of the law beneficial both to himself
and the community, Mr. Harewood changed his opinion as to the profession he
intended him to pursue, and directed him to prepare for the bar, to the
entire satisfaction of the young man.

Charles had for some time evinced a great desire to enter the army; but as
his mother could not conquer her feelings, so far as to permit it, he was
at length induced to resign the scheme entirely; but his anxiety to travel
continuing as strong as ever, Mr. Harewood promised, if possible, to
procure him some situation in life which would allow him to indulge his
wishes, consistent with his duty; but this was conceded on the express
terms of his diligent application to study; and as he perceived himself
the positive necessity of becoming a good linguist, he applied himself to
learning the modern languages with great assiduity.

Ellen grew up a pretty girl, but her figure was diminutive, and the
gentleness and docility which had been ever her happiest characteristic,
diffused a charm of feminine softness over her whole person, which was to
many very attractive, though not striking. The equanimity of her temper
had the effect of perpetuating that smooth and dimpled description of
countenance which is peculiar to childhood; so that, although a year older
than Matilda, she appeared younger; and when they were seen together among
strangers, she was considered as a younger sister, supported by the kind
attentions of her superior; for Matilda, although very modest, was
dignified, and her person, being elegant and tall, confirmed the idea.

In a short time, Mrs. Hanson received several offers from men of fortune
for Matilda, all of which were politely but positively refused; for the
poor girl always showed a decided dread of leaving her mother, and very
justly observed, that a very intimate acquaintance was necessary between
persons who bound themselves to so sacred and indissoluble a connection
as marriage; and although naturally too generous and ingenuous to suspect
others of acting from unworthy motives, she was yet aware that a young
woman who has a large fortune in her own disposal, and who has neither
father nor brother to investigate the private character of those who
address her, has need of a more than ordinary share of prudence, and will
be wise in delaying a consent which deprives her of all control over the
wealth of which Providence has appointed her steward.

Although thus wise in her decision on this important point, and ever
assigning reasons which showed how utterly unbiassed her affections were
towards the candidates for her favour, yet Matilda did not always act with
equal wisdom; she was excessively fond of dancing, and as she acquitted
herself with uncommon grace, perhaps vanity furnished her with an
additional motive for her desire to partake this amusement more frequently
than it suited her mamma; and once she accepted an invitation to a private
ball, when Mrs. Weston was her chaperon. Waltzing was introduced, and
Matilda, though by no means pleased with the general style of the dance,
was struck with certain movements which she thought graceful, and the day
following began to practise them with her young _protégée_.

"I think you waltz very well," said Mrs. Weston.

"I soon should do so, I dare say, if I practised it; but as it was new to
me, I durst not venture last night, although I made a kind of half promise
to Sir Theodore Branson, that I would do it the very next time we met."

"Do you call that waltzing?" said Mrs. Hanson, laying down her netting; "it
appears to me to be more the work of the hands than the feet a great deal;
and you go round and round, child, very foolishly, till one grows giddy to
look at you--so, so--well, and what, do the gentlemen stand by to grow
giddy too?"

"Dear mamma, the gentlemen waltz with the ladies; I said, you know, that
Sir Theodore wished me to do it, but I refused."

"You did perfectly right; I should have been much hurt if you had waltzed
with any man."

"It is very fashionable, mother."

"More the pity; but I am sure I need no argument against it to you,
Matilda."

"Indeed, mamma, I see nothing against it--I think it very graceful; and I
am sure, if you had seen Lady Emma Lovell last night, you would have
thought so too."

"My admiration of her person would not for a moment have changed my
opinion of her conduct. I see beautiful women, who expose their persons in
a manner I decidedly condemn (as I know, Matilda, you do likewise); looking
at them as fine _statues_, I may admire the work of the great Artificer;
but the moment I consider them as _women_ filling a respectable place in
society, the wives and daughters of men of rank and probity, and, what is
still stronger, women professing, at least nominally, to be members of the
Christian church, I turn from them with disgust and sorrow; and though I
sincerely despise all affectation of more exalted purity than others, I yet
will never hesitate to give my voice against a folly so unworthy of my sex,
and which can be only tolerated by women whose vanity has destroyed that
delicacy which is our best recommendation."

Matilda applied all her mother said to waltzing, and thought it was equally
just with the strictures she herself felt true, with regard to the mode of
dress adopted by some whom she met in public. Ellen and herself were ever
well, and even fashionably, dressed; but yet they avoided the fault they
condemned: for some time, the sisterly affection which really subsisted
between them, induced them to appear in similar dresses; but as Matilda
rose to womanhood, a fear lest Ellen should be induced to expense, added
to some jokes that were passed upon her respecting Charles, induced her to
forego this plan, and Ellen had too much good sense to pursue it further;
and, as the acquaintance of Mrs. Hanson increased, Matilda was necessarily
led into parties where Ellen could not meet her; so that they became in
some degree divided in person, but their attachment remained the same. Mrs.
Hanson was desirous that her daughter should take a more extensive view of
society than was necessary for Ellen; she dreaded an early marriage for
her, although she thought it desirable to bring her into society, being
persuaded that young women of large fortune too frequently are rendered
unhappy in the marriage state, by being dazzled at their first outset in
life by the novelty, and gaiety of the scene around them, which leads them
to expect a continuance of the same brilliant career, incompatible with the
duties of that state into which they incautiously plunge; whereas a short
time passed in life, would show them the inefficacy of trifling amusement
and splendid show to procure real satisfaction, and lead them to
investigate those circumstances in the minds and situations of their
admirers, most likely to ensure their future felicity, and most consonant
with their real wants and wishes. The judicious mother saw, with the truest
pleasure, that the well-turned mind of her daughter ever pointed to the
scenes of simple enjoyment and virtuous intelligence which illumined her
early years; but, in her peculiar situation, she was aware that Matilda,
to a certain degree, should adopt the apostle's advice--"Try all things,
cleave to that which is good."

On the other hand, Mr. and Mrs. Harewood, as the young people advanced
towards maturity, had felt it a point of delicacy, however sincere and
ardent their friendship might be, in a slight degree to abstain from that
intimate and daily intercourse which had so long and happily subsisted
between the families. The days were past when Charles could romp with, or
Edmund instruct, Matilda; and although they held the same rank in society,
yet as the noble fortune of Matilda (increased materially by the retired
way in which her mother lived during her infancy) entitled her to marry a
nobleman, Mr. Harewood did not choose that the presence of his sons should
cause reports which might prevent her from receiving offers of this nature.
He was attached to Matilda, as if she had indeed been his child, but he was
too independent, as well as too honest, to render either his present
affection, or his past services, the medium of increasing the general
regard Matilda had manifested for both his sons into a decided predilection
for either: nor was he aware that either of the young men had for her that
peculiar attachment which a man ought to feel for a wife. Edmund was wrapt
_apparently_ in a profession which is in its own nature absorbing, and
Charles appeared too eager to travel to have any tendency to early
marriage.

About a week after the foregoing conversation had taken place between
Matilda and her mother, the former went again to a ball, with a lady of
rank, who engaged to be her guardian for the night, as Mrs. Hanson and Mrs.
Weston had both caught severe colds, from being out late together.

Lady Araminta Montague, the conductor of Matilda for the evening, was a
fashionable and showy woman, who never appeared in public without being
surrounded by all those who affected to be considered persons of taste, and
fitted to move in the first style. She was now sought with more than common
avidity, on account of her attractive companion, whom she endeavoured to
show off in the happiest manner, by leading the light conversation of the
moment to subjects familiar to Matilda's observation, or likely to draw
from her those remarks in which the ability and talent she possessed would
be naturally, yet strikingly, displayed. Of this species of kindness
Matilda was wholly unconscious, as it was one which her own friends had
never adopted; when, therefore, she found herself the universal centre of
attraction in the room, it was no wonder that her spirits were unusually
elated, and her vanity took the lead; so that when the sprightly dance
added its intoxicating powers, and her mind was entranced by the pleasure
of the moment, she forgot the resolutions and opinions formed in a wiser
hour.

When the first two country-dances were over, several parties began, as on
the preceding night, to form into couples for the purpose of waltzing, at
that time a novelty in this country; and while Matilda was looking at them,
to her surprise, Sir Theodore Branson just entered the room, and asked the
honour of her hand, which he almost claimed as a promise.

This young gentleman was considered the handsomest man, and the most
elegant dancer, in the circles of fashion. That he was at once a shallow
coxcomb and an encroaching acquaintance, unfortunately did not prevent many
young ladies from desiring him as a partner; and when Matilda perceived
the leer of envy, and the pause of observation directed towards her, she
half gave him her hand, being conscious that her own figure and style of
dancing would be superior to any other of the candidates for admiration
that had preceded her; yet she paused, remembering her mother's words, and,
with a kind of anxious, fearful gaze, that fell like a veil over the
exultation and gaiety of her features, she looked an appeal to the lady
who was her guide, or ought to have been.

"Really, my dear, I don't know what to say; but as the thing is new, if
you are not quite _au fait_, you will be pardoned, and Sir Theodore is so
admirable a partner, I really think you may venture to try."

Matilda, in a calmer moment, would have seen how totally distinct her
ladyship's fears were from those of her mother; but the flutter of her
spirits, the demands of her vanity, and the address of her partner,
combined to hurry her forward, and she found herself in the midst of the
group before she was aware: it was then too late to recede: the motion for
a short time restored her spirits; but as the arm of Sir Theodore encircled
her waist, deep confusion overwhelmed her, she blushed to a degree that was
absolutely painful; and though unable, in the hurry of the motion, to
entertain a positive reflection, yet a thousand thoughts seemed to press
at once for admittance, all tinged with self-reproach; and at length,
unable to endure them, she suddenly laid her hand upon her forehead, and
ran, or rather reeled, to her seat.

As it was the nature of the dance to produce the sensation of dizziness,
this circumstance excited no particular attention, and her partner merely
rallied her upon it, with that air of _badinage_ young men now-a-days
pretty generally adopt. Every word he uttered was distressing to Matilda,
who felt as if she were insulted by his freedom, and had degraded herself
too far to enjoy the right of resenting it; her native pride, however,
contending with her self-condemnation, she removed her hand from her eyes,
in order to give him a look which would repel his impertinence, and, to her
utter astonishment, saw three gentlemen standing before, and looking
earnestly upon her; two of these were her friends, Edmund and Charles
Harewood.

The moment she looked up, the first withdrew, but Charles and the stranger
advanced; they did not, however, find it very easy to approach her, guarded
as she was by the officious Sir Theodore; but as Charles was not easily
balked in any intention he had formed, he succeeded in inquiring after her
health, and introducing his friend Mr. Belmont to her.

"I am very glad--I mean I did not know you were here," said Matilda
confusedly.

"Mr. Belmont introduced us. We only arrived from Oxford yesterday, and
Ellen, being very anxious that Mr. Belmont should see you, proposed our
coming hither."

A little relieved from observing that Edmund still did not join them, under
whose eye she felt that she should have shrunk, Matilda ventured to look at
Mr. Belmont, recollecting that she had frequently heard him mentioned as
the friend of both the brothers, during their residence at Oxford, and that
he had been the visitant of the family the preceding winter, when she was
on an excursion to Bath; she knew that he was highly esteemed by the
family, and, aware in what a favourable point of view their affection for
her would lead them to represent her, the idea that her first introduction
had taken place at a moment which, of all others, she most regretted, was
really insupportable to her.

Lady Araminta endeavoured, by her praise, to remove the chagrin which her
ingenuous countenance (ever the faithful harbinger of her thoughts)
betrayed so plainly--"I assure you, my dear," said she, "that for some
time you performed very prettily; didn't you think so, Mr. Harewood?"

"Pardon me, my lady, from differing with you--I have seen a country actress
do it much better: indeed I said so at the moment--Belmont knows I did; and
my brother observed that----"

At this moment the country-dance was recommenced, and Matilda was hurried
away, although her solicitude to hear what Edmund said amounted to misery;
but as Charles was addressing Lady Araminta, not her, it was impossible to
ask; besides, no small portion of anger at Edmund mingled with her
anxiety--he had never yet approached her. She knew indeed that his ideas of
feminine decorum were rigid; but still he had no right to resent her
conduct, or he might have told her as a friend, as he used to do, wherein
she erred. As these thoughts struck upon her mind, he passed her in the
dance, and made her a profound bow of recognition; she watched to the
bottom, and perceived him engaged in earnest conversation with a very
lovely young person, whom she remembered as one of those who refused to
waltz; again her heart smote her, yet her anger was the most predominant
emotion, and she felt as if Edmund Harewood had injured her beyond
forgiveness.

The waltzing recommenced, but the very name of it was now hateful to
Matilda, and she hastily entreated Lady Araminta to order her carriage.
Charles was near; accustomed to read her thoughts, he advanced to offer his
hand to lead her down stairs--"You are not well, Matilda," said he,
tenderly--"at least not comfortable--I am sure you are not."

Matilda replied only by a smothered sigh.

"They tell me," continued Charles, "that you are about to marry Sir
Theodore Branson?"

"'Tis false," said Matilda, quickly, her bosom evidently palpitating with
shame and anger.

"Then how could you think of waltzing with him? I am sure neither Edmund
nor myself would have dared (brothers as we once deemed ourselves) to have
taken--but--really I beg pardon, Miss Hanson; while I condemn another, I
intrude too far myself."

Matilda was just stepping into the carriage; she turned her eyes on
Charles--they were full of tears, tears such as he had seen in her
repentant eyes in early days; he was affected with them--he felt that the
latter part of his speech had hurt her--that she was not the fashionable
belle, but still the good girl he must love and admire.--"Then," cried he,
eagerly, "you will not marry that sprig of a baronet--eh, Matilda?"

"I will not _indeed_."

"And do you not mean to waltz again?"

"No; I was a fool once, but----"

The carriage drove off, and Charles returned with a light heart to the
ball-room; but that of Edmund was very heavy, and the friends shortly left
the gay scene, and returned to Mr. Harewood's.



CHAPTER XV.


"I will never go any where again without you, indeed, mother, I am
determined," said Matilda, with a sorrowful air, the following morning.

This was the prelude to a confession of error, which in part relieved
the mind of Matilda: but she was still uneasy--she felt as if Charles
would be her apologist with his family, for an error they were likely to
blame in her; but the ardour of his manner made her feel much concerned
for _him_--he was dear to her--she felt for him a sister's affection, but
felt that she could never be more to him than she was then. Anxious and
restless, she earnestly desired to see Ellen, whose gentleness and
dispassionate good sense would soothe the fretfulness and allay the
uneasiness she felt; yet she could not bring herself to call on the
family--she had not the courage to meet Mr. and Mrs. Harewood, nor the
calmness with which she desired to see the brothers. While she was debating
what course to pursue, to her infinite relief she heard that Ellen had just
called with her father, and that both of them were in the library. Before
she had time to welcome them, Ellen, running up stairs, hurried with her
into the dressing-room, and closed the door with an air of secrecy which
showed her expectation of giving or receiving intelligence of importance,
and there was in her countenance an expression which combined both joy and
sorrow, and was really indefinable.

Full of her own cares, and anxious to conceal the most interesting part of
them, Matilda for some time remained silent, nor did Ellen find the courage
requisite for her own communication; so that this much desired visit
promised little eventual satisfaction. To account for the situation of
Ellen, it is necessary to trace the events of the morning in her father's
house.

When the family were assembled to breakfast, the conversation naturally
turned upon the ball of the evening before; and Ellen, with friendly zeal,
sought to exculpate her friend Matilda from the errors which Mr. Belmont
seemed to think her guilty of, in exhibiting herself in a dance, by no
means decorous, with a young man of Sir Theodore's description.--"I do not
say," added he, "that it was a positively wrong thing, nor do I much wonder
at it; for a fine young woman, and an heiress, may be led a great way, by
the flatterers and sycophants who surround her; but I must own I expected
better things from the chosen friend of Ellen Harewood, from a girl
educated by a pious and sensible mother, and one said to possess a sound
understanding."

Edmund was silent, but his varying complexion bespoke the strong interest
he felt in the subject; Charles, on the contrary, warmly entered into it,
declaring that a few words which passed between Matilda and him clearly
proved that she had been misled by her party; that her sense of propriety
was as strong as ever; and, in short, that she was a dear, amiable, good
girl, whom he would defend as long as he lived.

The warmth of Charles's assertion called a smile from every one. During the
time he spoke, his father had been called out; the servant now entered,
desiring _his_ presence also; and it appeared that their early visitant
was a man of great importance, and the cause of his calling at this time,
by awakening curiosity, suspended conversation. In a few minutes he
departed, and Mr. Harewood returned to the breakfast-room, saying as he
entered--"I am going to announce a piece of excellent news, although it is
accompanied by a loss we must submit to; our dear Charles is appointed to
be secretary to the embassy to ----, now preparing to embark."

Mrs. Harewood burst into tears; but as soon as she could speak, she
expressed her joy, while Ellen, in a broken voice, exclaimed--"Oh, what
will Matilda say, poor girl?"

Edmund rushed out of the room, as if to seek his brother, but Mr. Belmont
well knew it was to conceal his emotion; no other person seemed to notice
Ellen's unfortunate ejaculation, and when the door was closed, Mr. Belmont
congratulated the parents upon a circumstance so honourable and desirable
to their younger son; and as they well knew the sincerity of his character,
and the affection he felt for Charles, they freely confided to him their
feelings at the event; while Ellen innocently declared that she was very
glad he happened to be with them at the time, as he would be a substitute
for dear Charles.

"Ah!" said Mr. Belmont, "if you, Ellen, could persuade your parents, and,
what is in this case of more importance, your _own_ heart, to consider me
not only now, but ever, a member of your family, I should be happy indeed."

Ellen, rather surprised at this speech than its import, for she had long
half hoped, half feared, to think on this interesting but awful subject,
turned to her mother, and hid her blushing cheek upon her shoulder, while
the parents exchanged looks of satisfaction with each other, and esteem
towards the speaker.

"Mine, Ellen," continued Mr. Belmont, "is neither a sudden nor violent
passion; I approach you by no flattery--I dazzle you by no exhibition; but
as I trust both my fortune and character will bear the scrutiny of your
friends, your only task, my sweet girl, is to examine your own heart, and
inquire there how far I am agreeable to your wishes. I have been a silent
admirer of your virtues, and I can be a patient attendant for your
decision."

Ellen gave one glance towards her mother--it answered all her wishes; she
turned, deeply blushing, to Mr. Belmont, and timidly, yet with an air of
perfect confidence, tendered him her hand; she would have spoken, but the
variety of emotion so suddenly called forth by the departure of her
brother, and the declaration of her lover, overpowered her, and he
received thus a silent, but a full consent to his wishes.

In the mean time, Edmund had conquered the more immediate pang that
laboured at his heart, and, entering the library, had grasped the hand of
Charles, and uttered a few words of congratulation, but it was in a voice
so broken, that there was more of sorrow than joy in it.

Charles had not the slightest doubt of his brother's affection, he did not
therefore doubt for a moment the sincerity of his assertion, but he was
persuaded that the idea of his own situation, as being two years older, and
yet likely to remain dependent on his father for some years, was a sensible
mortification to him; and, feeling for his situation, he said--"Ay, my dear
fellow, there is a difference between us _now_, sure enough; but there is
no doubt of your doing well by and by; besides, you are the eldest, and
deserve to be so; I am sure father can never do too much for such a son as
you are, Edmund."

Edmund gazed in astonishment to hear Charles express himself with so much
ease, at a time when he expected his heart must be overpowered with
trouble; his fears lately excited by the agitation and warmth with which
Charles had vindicated Matilda, and the unguarded exclamation of Ellen, who
evidently thought her younger brother the favourite, now took another turn;
he surveyed Charles; he was just twenty-three--a tall, handsome young man,
and one who had ever been admired by the ladies. "Perhaps," said he,
"internally, poor Matilda loves him, but without having her affection
returned: this accounts for the many great offers she has refused, for
the sympathy of Ellen, who knows her heart, and for the vindication she
undoubtedly made to him last night; whereas to _me_ she was cold and
unintelligible."

While these painful thoughts rankled in the mind of the young barrister,
his happy brother was flying all over the house, receiving from the
servants the mixed congratulation of joy in his success and sorrow for his
departure; he had also joined the _coterie_ in the parlour, wrung the hand
of his future brother-in-law, kissed his mother and Ellen, and thanked his
father twenty times for all his generous cares, before Edmund could muster
philosophy enough to join the family, and listen to its arrangements for
the day.

It was at length agreed that Edmund should assist his mother in making up
a package of books, &c., for the traveller, who, accompanied by Belmont,
should visit the city for necessary arrangements; and Mr. Harewood, who
knew that Ellen would naturally wish to see Matilda, agreed to accompany
her thither, being at once desirous to communicate this various
intelligence to Mrs. Hanson, and to witness the effect Charles's departure
would have upon Matilda, whom, at the bottom of his heart, he certainly
desired to have for a daughter, although he would have rejoiced in her
alliance with any worthy man.

We return now to the young ladies in the dressing-room, each eager to hear
and to speak, yet each oppressed, though very differently, with solicitude.
At length, Ellen, her breast labouring with sighs, and fear lest she should
wound the heart of her friend, thus spoke: "We are going to lose Charles:
he has got an appointment, Matilda."

"And is he pleased with it, Ellen?"

"Oh, yes! he seems quite happy: he is running all over the house, just in
his old way, and the servants are all laughing and crying about him, as if
he were still a school-boy."

"I am heartily glad of it--he has my sincerest good wishes, and I feel
certain of his success."

Ellen looked in the face of Matilda, to see if she did _indeed_ rejoice;
she perceived a tear twinkle in the corner of her young friend's eye, but
it was not the tear of sorrow. Ellen could now read the heart on subjects
of this kind; she felt that she had been completely mistaken in Matilda's
supposed predilection, and she was almost sorry to see her so happy.

"There is a--a--another affair going on at our house," said Ellen, after
a pause.

Matilda felt her heart beat with unusual violence; she could not speak,
but her very soul peeped out of her eyes to say--"What is it?"

"It is not a parting; it--it--is a joining."

"Oh," said Matilda, calling all her fortitude to her aid, "you are going
to have a wedding, eh?"

"I believe it will come to that, indeed, some time."

Matilda turned as pale as death; but her colour rushed suddenly back to her
cheeks, as at this moment the door opened, and Mr. Harewood and Mrs. Hanson
broke on their _tête-à-tête_. The former felt assured that poor Matilda had
heard the destination of Charles, and was suffering under it; but as he
could hardly believe Mrs. Hanson would consent to her marriage with his
youngest son, and as he thought Charles himself had no thoughts of
marriage at this time, he could not allow himself to rejoice in her
predilection. To relieve her, he said--"Well, my dear, you heard how we are
situated, some of us parting for a time, some uniting for ever; I am sure
you rejoice in all that is good, in either of these cases."

Matilda, overpowered, burst into sudden tears.

"My daughter is very nervous this morning," said Mrs. Hanson; "she cannot
help being affected with such material changes in the state of those she
loves so well; you are aware her tears are those of joy, Mr. Harewood."

Matilda struggled to recover her composure, and, turning to Mr. Harewood,
she put both her hands into his, and said, with a low but earnest
voice--"My dear, _dear_ sir, I do most truly rejoice in the prospect of
any good that can befall your family; I saw the--the young lady--the
bride-elect--she is very pretty--I hope she will be as good as she is
handsome; and I----"

Matilda suddenly stopped, unable to articulate the rest of her good wishes,
and Mr. Harewood eagerly said--"As to _that_ we will say nothing; I trust
Ellen will make a good wife; I am sure she has had a good example."

"_Ellen!_" screamed Matilda; "is it you, Ellen? _you_ that are going to be
married--you?"

"Dear me, how astonished you look! I suppose I shall be married some time.
I told you that perhaps Mr. Belmont might, _some time_----"

"My dear, _dear_ Ellen, pardon my dulness, and accept my sincerest
congratulations. May Heaven bless you, and him you prefer, and make you
both as happy as you deserve to be!"

"So, so!" cried Mr. Harewood; "if we had never come up stairs, this mighty
secret, which, for my part, I told an hour ago down stairs, would never
have been revealed. But pray, Matilda, who did you conclude was the
marrying person at our house, if it were not Ellen?"

"You have sons, sir," tremulously articulated Matilda, not choosing to
trust her tongue with a name that dwelt ever on her heart.

"Oh, tut, tut, there is no marrying for my boys. Charles is disposed of,
and if Edmund can take a wife at thirty, he will be better off than many in
his profession; he is now but a little past five-and-twenty, you know."

"He danced with a very beautiful woman last night," said Matilda, eagerly,
and with recovered vivacity.

"So I understand; she is a bride, and his first fee was given for a
consultation on her marriage-settlements."

Matilda breathed; the lustre of her eye, the glow on her cheek, could not
be mistaken by the fond parent, who now clearly understood the cause of
Matilda's frequent despondency, and the refusals she had given to all
offers of marriage.

"I wish," said Mrs. Hanson, "that you and Mrs. Harewood and our young
friends would dine with me: I am really impatient to be introduced to Mr.
Belmont."

"As you please, madam; the wanderer must certainly see you once more, and
I do not know that he can choose a better day."

Ellen proposed writing a note to her mother, and left the room with Mrs.
Hanson, when Mr. Harewood, perceiving that Matilda was again in confusion,
said, by way of diverting her attention--"You have seen Mr. Belmont, Miss
Hanson?"

"Yes, I have; and _he_ has seen _me_, to my sorrow. You remind me of a
folly I have by no means forgiven in myself. I still want the eye of a
tutor, you see."

"Charles has, however, been your advocate so effectually, that I believe
not one of the family will ever remember it again."

"Not _one_!" said Matilda, blushing deeply.

"Not _one_! Charles is a warm advocate."

"He is a dear good boy, and always was; I love him very much, and while
I rejoice in his good fortune, I shall be sorry to part with him."

Matilda's frankness assured Mr. Harewood that her heart was free where he
had supposed it bound; he was anxious to read her farther; he saw that she
even sought investigation from him, in whom she confided as a friend and
father; but he again shrunk from the idea of undue influence, and while he
walked about irresolute, time passed, and Edmund and his mother entered the
drawing-room, and Matilda was called to receive them.

An air of coldness and restraint pervaded the manners of both Edmund and
Matilda, to divert which, Mrs. Hanson began to relate the error into which
her daughter had fallen, from the _mauvaise honte_ of Ellen, as she
supposed, and this led them to speak of the ball, and the characters of the
persons present. Of course, poor Matilda was again tormented by hearing
that Sir Theodore was universally believed to be her affianced lover, and
she expressed the most unqualified vexation at the report, declaring that
she would not go once into public again for seven years, rather than
encourage the presumption of the man, or the idle gossip of his admirers.

As she spoke, Edmund was observed to gaze upon her with delight, and exult
in the declaration, as if it were necessary for his happiness; but when
she ceased to speak, he relapsed into melancholy.

"The only way to silence such reports effectually," said Mrs. Hanson, with
a tender smile, "will be to place yourself under the protection of some
worthy man, whose character you can indeed approve. I have ever objected
to your marrying under age, but I have no objection at all to your gaining
liberty, and relinquishing it at the same time. I hope, therefore, in
another year, to see you follow the example of Ellen, provided you can
choose as well as she has done."

"It is the only thing in which I cannot obey you, my dear mother," replied
Matilda.

Hurt with the extreme paleness which overspread the countenance of their
inestimable son, Mr. and Mrs. Harewood withdrew to the window; and Ellen,
whose heart wanted a pretext for watching the arrival of Belmont, joined
them; when Mrs. Hanson, drawing closer to Edmund, said--"I fear you will
not soon join these marrying people, my young friend?"

"I shall never marry, madam," answered he abruptly.

"_Never!_ you are too positive, sir; men at your age change their minds
frequently."

"Matilda knows that I am not subject to change; she may accuse me of many
errors, but not of that."

"I can accuse _you_ of _nothing_," said Matilda; "I wish you could say the
same of me."

"Matilda! Miss Hanson! I accuse you! what right have I to accuse you?"

"Every right. I behaved ill--you condemned me--I saw you did; and--you
punished me. I felt your punishment last night--to-day you forgive me; and
your forgiveness is--why should I not own it? is dear to me."

"Oh, Matilda, do not distract me by this generosity! you will throw me off
my guard--you will induce me to make a declaration that may part us for
ever."

Edmund looked at Mrs. Hanson; her brow was open, pleasure swam in her eye,
and she held her hand towards him as she said--"My dear Edmund, allow me to
ask what you mean by that look of mistrust to me? what right have you to
suppose that I am less generous than yourself, or that I desire to see my
child ungrateful to her young preceptor, or insensible of his merits?"

"Madam! Matilda! what does all this mean? is it possible that I can have
obtained such an advocate as Mrs. Hanson?"

"Edmund, can you really want an advocate with poor erring Matilda? or can
you for a moment accuse her of a fault, which never yet came amongst the
numerous catalogue of her early sins?"

Mrs. Hanson joined the group at the window, and in a few moments they all
descended together, to welcome Charles and Belmont, who soon understood the
happy footing on which those so dear to them were placed; and Charles
enjoyed a hearty laugh at the jealousy he had excited, though he could not
regret a circumstance which had in any measure led to a conclusion so
desirable.

When poor Zebby, whose sable forehead was now shaded by gray locks, was
told all that had happened, she exclaimed with her usual enthusiasm,--"All
right--all happy--Missy have goodee friend, goodee husban--him alway mild
and kind; Missy very goodee too--some time little warm, but never, _never_
when she lookee at massa; him melt her heart, guide her steps, both go hand
in hand to heaven."

The negro's conception of this union has every prospect of being verified,
and proves that the simplest and most uninformed of human beings may yet
enjoy the light of reason, and a just perception of the characters of those
around them.

When Charles had bade adieu to his family, the lovers of Matilda and Ellen
were each urgent for their respective marriages: but the awfulness of that
sacred engagement into which they were about to enter, the consciousness
they entertained of the goodness of their parents, and the happiness of the
state they were quitting, held the young ladies for some time in a state of
apparent suspense, and almost incertitude. This was neither the effect of
want of confidence in the men they loved, nor of that spirit of coquetry by
which the vain and frivolous part of the sex seek to prolong what they
consider the day of their power. Far different ideas pervaded their minds
and influenced their conduct; for not only the tenderness of their
affection for their parents, but the sense of their responsibility as
Christian wives, called to new duties and new avocations, appointed to
guide their inferiors, and submit to their future husbands, pressed upon
their hearts; and when at length the solemn ceremony took place, it was to
each party rather a day of serious thoughtfulness and fearful anxiety, than
one of exultation and exhibition.

In a short time this solicitude vanished, and a sense of happiness,
confidence, and unbounded affection spread over their minds the most
delightful serenity, and rendered every act of duty an act of pleasure.
Matilda looked to Edmund as the guardian of her conduct, and he found in
her the reward of his virtues, the companion whose vivacity enlivened the
fatigue of study, and whose benevolence extended the circle of his
enjoyments; and although apparently of very different tempers, the
affection they felt for each other, and the well-regulated minds they both
possessed, rendered them proverbially good and happy.

After residing a few years abroad, and increasing his knowledge and
reputation, Charles returned, and is now become the husband of Miss Weston,
who is an amiable and virtuous young woman, well calculated to render him
happy. The mother of this young lady still resides with Mrs. Hanson, to
whom her society is particularly valuable, since the removal of Matilda,
whose eldest child is the frequent inmate of her house.

Happy in themselves, and a blessing to the circle around them, Mr. and Mrs.
Belmont reside during the greatest part of the year upon the family estate
of Mr. Belmont in Staffordshire. Ellen, as a country gentlewoman, extends a
quiet but beneficial influence through an extensive neighbourhood, and is
universally beloved and respected.

We will now take leave of the Barbadoes Girl and her friends, with the
sincere wish that all who read her story may, like her, endeavour to
correct in themselves those irregularities of temper, and proneness to
pride and vanity, which, more or less, are the growth of every human heart,
and which can never rise and flourish there, but to the destruction of
every virtue and every comfort; and we earnestly desire them to hold in
mind, that, in order to purify the heart from these unhallowed guests, a
deep sense of religion must be the motive, and a strict principle of
self-control the agent, by which so desirable an end can alone be obtained.

This little story, written rather to instruct than amuse, can only close
with consistency, by briefly recapitulating the lesson it has, perhaps
feebly, but sincerely, endeavoured to inculcate, viz., the necessity of
watchfulness over our hearts--the excellence and advantage of being open
and ingenuous--the efficacy of repentance towards God, and humility even
towards man--and the peculiar necessity of guarding the heart, as with a
tenfold barrier, to those who are blest with riches and prosperity.





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