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As we were getting into the fly to return, 1 heard Mr. Holbrook say he should call on the ladies soon, and inquire how they got home; and this evidently pleased and fluttered Miss Matty at the time he said it; but after we had lost sight of the old house among the trees, her sentiments toward the master of it were grad. ually absorbed into a distressing wonder as to whether Martha had broken her word, and seized on the opportunity of her mistress's absence to have a “ follower.” Martha looked good, and steady, and composed enough, as she came to help us out; she was always careful of Miss Matty, and to-night she made use of this unlucky speech :
“Eh! dear ma'am, to think of your going out in an evening in such a thin shawl! It is no better than muslin. At your age, ma'am, you should be careful."
“My age !” said Miss Matty, almost speak. ing crossly, for her; for she was usually gentle. “My age! Why, how old do you think I am, that you talk about my age ?”.
"Well, ma'am! I should say you were not far short of sixty ; but folks' looks is often against them—and I'm sure I meant no harm."
“Martha, I'm not yet fifty-two !” said Miss Matty, with grave emphasis; for probably the einembrance of her youth had come very viv idly before her this day, and she was annoyed at finding that golden time so far away in the past.
But she never spoke of any former and more intimate acquaintance with Mr. Holbrook. She had probably met with so little sympathy in her early love, that she had shut it up close in her heart; and it was only by a sort of watching, which I could hardly avoid, since Miss Pole's confidence, that I saw how faithful her poor heart had been in its sorrow and its silence.
She gave me some good reason for wearing her best cap every day, and sat near the window, in spite of her rheumatism, in order to see, without being seen, down into the street.
He came. He put his open palms upon his knees, which were far apart, as he sat with his head bent down, whistling, after we had replied to his inquiries about our safe return. Suddenly, he jumped up.
“ Weil, madam! have you any commands for Paris ? I am going there in a week or two."
“ To Paris !" we both exclaimed.
“ Yes, madam! I've never been there, and always had a wish to go; and I think if I don't go soon, I mayn't go at all; so as soon as the hay is got in I shall go, before harvest-time"
We were so much astonished, that we hai no commissions.
Just as he was going out of the room, he turned back, with his favorite exclaration :
“God bless my soul, madam! but I nearly forgot half my errand. Here are the poems for you, you admired so much the other evening at my house.” He tugged away at a parcel in his coat-pocket. “Good-by, miss,” said he; "goodby, Matty! take care of yourself.” And he was gone. But he had given her a book, and he had called her Matty, just as he used to do thirty years ago.
“I wish he would not go to Paris," said Miss Matilda, anxiously. “I don't believe frogs will agree with him; he used to have to be very careful what he ate, which was curious in so strong-looking a young man.”
Soon after this I took my leave, giving many an injunction to Martha to look after her mistress, and to let me know if she thought that Miss Matilda was not so well ; in which case I would volunteer a visit to my old friend, with. out noticing Martha's intelligence to her.
Accordingly, I received a line or two from Martha every now and then; and, about No. vember, I had a note to say her mistress was “ very low and sadly off her food ;" and the ac.
count made me so uneasy, that, although Martha did not decidedly summon me, I packed up my things and went.
I received a warm welcome, in spite of the little flurry produced by my impromptu visit, for I had only been able to give a day's notice. Miss Matilda looked miserably ill ; and I prepared to comfort and cosset her.
I went down to have a private talk with Martha.
“ How long has your mistress been so poorly ?” I asked, as I stood by the kitchen fire.
“Well! I think it's better than a fortnight; it is, I know: it was one Tuesday, after Miss Pole had been, that she went into this moping way. I thought she was tired, and it would go off with a night's rest; but, no! she has gone on and on ever since, till I thought it my duty to write to you, ma'am.”
“You did quite right, Martha. It is a comfort to think she has so faithful a servant about her. And I hope you find your place comfort. able ?"
“ Well, ma'am, missus is very kind, and there's plenty to eat and drink, and no more work but what I can do easily—but::— Martha hesitated.
“But what, Martha ?”
6. Why, it seems so hard of missus not to let me have any followers ; there's such lots of young fellows in the town; and many a one has as much as offered to keep company with me; and I may never be in such a likely place again, and it's like wasting an opportunity. Many a girl as I know would have 'em unbeknownst to missus; but I've given my word, and I'll stick to it; or else this is just the house for missus never to be the wiser if they did come: and it's such a capable kitchen—there's such good dark corners in it-I'd be bound to hide any one. I counted up last Sunday night—for I'll not deny I was crying because I had to shut the door in Jim Hearn's face; and he's a steady young rnan, fit for any girl; only I had given missus my word.” Martha was all but crying again ; and I had little comfort to give her, for I knew, from old experience, of the horror with which both the Miss Jenkynses looked upon “ followers ;" and in Miss Matty's present nervous state this dread was not likely to be lessened.
I went to see Miss Pole the next day, and took her completely by surprise ; for she had not been to see Miss Matilda for two days
“And now I must go back with you, my dear, for I promised to let her know how Thomas Holbrook went on; and I'm sorry to say his