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L I B R.ARY
D 2.26 s
MRS. MACKENZIE DANIELS,
AUTHOB OP " MT SISTER MIXME," " FERNLET MANOR," " OUR
GUARDIAN," " GEORQINA HAMMOND," ETC.
IN THKEE VOLUMES.
THOMAS CAUTLEY KE^'BY, PUBLISHER,
30, WELBECK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE.
THE studp:nt's wife.
The world deals very rousrhlv sometimes
with its gentlest ones ; and those of whom
in their vouth it has been said that the
first breath of sorrow will hurl them to
the groimd, are often destined to encounter
the \\ildest storms, and have a power given
them to stand asrainst — if not to beat
back — the whu-lwind, which fills with an
infinite wonder, the sage prognosticators
of their earlier years.
But the tempest once over, tlie angiy
waves once hushed to a soothing calm, how
intensely do these children of tranquillity
and meekness enjoy the repose that follows
— drinking in peace as the ver\- waters of
VOL. I. B
2 THE student's WIFE.
life, and luxuriating, to an extent which
none but themselves can fully comprehend,
in the dull, changeless monotony that has
at length succeeded their day of forced and
The story I am about to relate was told
to^me by one whose own history formed
a striking exemplification of the above
remarks; and although I was never en-
trusted with more than a few disjointed
passages from this most interesting and
eventful life, I knew quite enough to
convince me that my aged friend had
personal experiences of no common nature,
and that when she spoke of the calm joys
of declining years, there was ever a prayer
of deep thanksgiving in her heart for the
contrast these afforded to the fierce, wild
storms that had raged around her in her
Mrs. Porrest was nearly seventy when I
first came to know her intimately ; but she
was still remarkably healthy, and far more
cheerful, I was assured by many, than she
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 6
had been at any former period of her exist-
ence. I can so distinctly remember her
placid, gentle aspect, her soft, womanly
voice, her rather faltering step, but above
all, her dear ^vinning ways with those she
loved ; and from this Kst I could never
find a single human being excluded.
I was very young, very thoughtless, and
very much addicted to romance reading at
the time to w hich I am now referring ; and
one hot summer's day, having in vain ran-
sacked my friend's library for something
new in the "Castle of Otranto" stvle, I
sought Mrs. Forrest in the cool, pleasant
room where she was generally content to
abide, and seating myself familiarly at her
feet, said, saucily enough —
" Now, you good, kind creature, do tell
me yom* own history from the very begin-
ning — and mind you don't leave out the
"Little, coaxing Puss!" she replied,
stroking my hair, and smiling more faintly
than usual ; "so you thought to take the
4 THE student's WIPE.
old woman by storm, did you ? but I bave
no intention, eitber now or at any futiu-e
13eriod, of gratifying your curiosity con-
cerning my own past trials. Wbat you
already knoAV I do not grudge you ; for tbe
rest, let it be buried witb me. However,
if you want materials for tbat romance you
bave been talking about writing these last
hundred years, I think I can supply you
with some that will answer your purpose.
And these, I may add, ought to interest
you more than any which relate only to
the grey -haired old woman beside you."
" I am sure they won't, though," I said,
Avith the licensed freedom of a spoilt child.
*' You are going to tell me the whole life
and adventures of some awfully good
female, who always spoke, thought, felt,
and, I dare say, loved by rule, or as her
truly worthy and estimable parents desired
her. Now, my dear, darling Mrs. Porrest,
have some pity on a little sinner like my-
self, and forbear driving me to despera-
tion by holding up to my view this heroine
THE STUDENT S WIFE. O
of supernatural virtues. If you won't let
me hear your own life, I would much
rather go out and run after that pretty
butterfly than sit listening to a sermon,
badly disguised, like childi-en's powders in
"Little sinner, indeed !" replied my too
indulgent friend, " and quite unworthy of
a single spoonful of the delicacy you pre-
sume to despise. Xeyertheless, as it hap-
pens that what I am about to relate pos-
sesses more the nature of raspberry jam — if
by that you mean loye and nonsense — than
of any doctor's stuff whateyer ; and as I am
really curious to see this lons^ talked of
romance begun, I shall overlook your im-
pertinence, and proceed at once with my
story. But go and fetch your work first ;
I do not love to see young fingers playing
at holiday too loner."
" Without much anticipation of amuse-
ment, I settled myself in an easy chair,
and taking from my apron pocket a little
netting that I generally carried about with
6 THE student's WIFE.
me, prepared to act, mth all due decorum,
the part of listener to my respected and
Alas ! the lips that then spoke so plea-
santly have long been silent in the grave ;
the meek eyes that wept in recalling the
suiferings they had witnessed, have long
been closed in death ! The very name of
gentle Mrs. Forrest has become almost a
forgotten sound ; but in the pages of the
simple story I have at length determined
on commencing, her memory shall live
again ; and thrice honoured shall I feel if
my repetition of the tale afford, to even one
solitary individual, the same degree of
pleasure and interest that I experienced,
long years ago, while listening to it from
the lips of gentle Mrs. Porrest, as I sat, a
thoughtless girl, beside her in that cool
and quiet room.
TuE village of Elderton in the south of
Encrland has always been a remarkably
quiet place, and thirty years ago there was
something positively curious in its entu'e
freedom from every species of movement
and progress, such as in present days may
be discerned working, more or less rapidly,
from one end of our industrious and fa-
voured island to the other. Thu'ty years
ago the little village of Elderton boasted
only of a solitary and not particularly well-
conditioned street, a very small rudely built
chm-ch, and three or foiu* dozen cottages,
inhabited by the labouring? classes. But at
something less than a quarter of a mile's
distance from this primitive hamlet stood an
old parsonage house that would have done
honoui' to a tillage of far higher preten-
8 THE student's WIFE.
sions than poor Elclertoii uas ever likely to
put forth ; and how such a choice specimen
of tasteful architecture came there at all,
was a matter of lively astonishment to each
successive rector who was fortunate enough
to assemble his household gods beneath its
pleasant and hospitable roof.
During many years the moderately paid
living of Elderton had been held by very
aged incumbents, and the beautiful parson-
age house had consequently changed mas-
ters with a frequency that caused much
dissatisfaction to the quiet villagers, who,
having nothing of importance to grumble
about, availed themselves of every trivial
circumstance whereon they might hang
that darling tale of grievances which ap-
pears absolutely necessary to the comfort
and independence of every son of Albion.
But even this excuse for indulging the
master passion was at length wrested from
the worthy dwellers at Elderton by the
arrival amongst them of a middle-aged,
vigorous, and singularly energetic rector,
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 9
who bid fair to outlive a large proportion
of his parishioners, and to retain the charm-
ing parsonage as long as the most inveterate
railer against new teachers could desire.
The Rev. Dr. Berrington was an exceed-
ingly sociable person, and he entered upon
his new living Avith the full determination
of making himself as agreeable and as popu-
lar, ^Wth all classes of his neighbours, as he
could by any means contrive to do. The
shock sustained by the reverend gentleman
on discovering that there was, literally, only
one class towards whom these benevolent
and philanthropic feelings could be exer-
cised might have deprived Elderton of the
brigiitest star that had ever yet shone upon
it, had not the amiable rector's sensible
wife and pretty daughter declared loudly
in favour of then* new home, in sjDite of
those disadvantages which, in common
with the head of the family, they acknow-
ledged and deplored.
Mrs. Berrington was, as I have hinted, a
very sensible woman ; but, like the rest of
10 THE student's WIFE.
US, she had her little weaknesses, one of
which consisted in an exaggerated apprecia-
tion of cupboards, of every variety and size.
The absence of these useful domestic fix-
tures in their last dwelling had been a con-
stant source of regret to her ; and when
she discovered, on going over the old par-
sonage at Elderton, that every room and
every landing had its separate cupboard,
and that all were equally commodious, no
earthly power could have persuaded her to
yield to Dr. Berrington's hastily expressed
proposal of endeavouring to exchange his
recently acquired living with that of an
easy, good-natured brother, who was set-
tled in a bustling and extensively populated
Theresa Berrington, the only and well
beloved child of this really estimable
couple, was a quiet, reserved, and very
thoughtful little girl, just verging upon
that charming age when life begins to
throw off its chrysalis disguise, and to
appear clothed in those exquisite rainbow
THE student's WIFE. 11
hues which the young, innocent heart
fondly dreams will be eternal in their
sweetness and beauty. So Theresa wan-
dered alone, when the sun was setting,
through the large, quaintly planted, but
altogether delightful garden, of the parson-
age house, and her foolish little heart was
won by its novel and somewhat romantic
aspect, in the same way, and quite as
rapidly, as her mother's had been by the
cupboards above mentioned.
Under these circumstances, the new rec-
tor of Elderton had no choice but to submit
quietly to his fate, and, in justice to a very
wortliy man, it must be acknowledged that
he did so ^vith an excellent grace ; and
instead of continuing liis lamentations
asjainst the destinv that had brousrht him
to this isolated portion of the globe, he set
all his energetic brain in action to discover
some means of ameliorating the e^il which
had so suddenly burst upon hun.
The family were seated at their comfort-
able l^reakfast about a week after their
12 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
arrival, when Dr. Eerrington, Avho had
appeared in an unusually thoughtful mood
since he took his place at the head of the
tahle, exclaimed abruptly, and with con-
siderable animation —
'' My friends, I have an idea — I have
two ideas, indeed ; and I really think you
will be charmed with them."
'' Oh ! I hope," said Mrs. Eerrington,
*' that you are not forming any plans for
leaving Elderton. Now that everything is
unpacked and put in order, it would be
such a thousand pities."
''My love, make your mind quite easy
on that score," replied the smiling husband.
" Erom the moment I found that you and
Tessie had set your hearts upon the place,
I thought no more of giving it up. Eut I
presume you would, neither of you, object
very vehemently to a little better society
than there appears, at present, any chance
of our obtaining."
*' Certainly not," said the sensible wife,
quickly, and looking affectionately at the
THE student's WIFE. 13
pretty daughter who sat so quietly by her
" "Well, then, ray love," resumed the
husband, **my first idea is — ^to build a
" Good gracious. Dr. Berrington ! I
never heard of such a thing in my life."
" Nevertheless, my dear Jane, such things
have been ; and, therefore, may be again.
Now, just listen to me a moment."
" But you know nothing about building,
I am afraid," persisted the surprised Mrs.
Berrington ; " and I am sure there are no
architects at Elderton."
" I scarcely think there are," continued
the rector cheerfully, *'but there are
masons, carpenters, and blacksmiths, I
have no doubt ; and these will be enough
for my piu*pose, as I intend the architects
to be you, Theresa, and myself. There is
a capital bit of building land to be sold
cheap about five minutes' walk from our
house, and here we will construct our cot-
tage ornee, which will insure us some
14 THE student's WIFE.
society more congenial than that at present
" How very, very nice !" exclaimed The-
resa, before her mother could speak ; '' and,
dear papa, do let me draw out a plan for
the garden, and have that quite under my
" So you shall, my Tessie ; and mamma
shall have the cupboard department en-
tirely under her control. It's my opinion
that our joint production will prove a non-
pareil, and that, when it is ready for habi-
tation, our only difficulty will consist in
choosing from amongst the numerous ten-
ants who will offer themselves."
*' I dare say it is a very nice plan," Mrs.
Berrington now put in ; " but I really can-
not yet see clearly where the tenants are to
spring from. Depend upon it, people in
search of houses would never dream of
coming to quiet little Elderton."
" It would certainly, my love, be unwise
to place our hopes of a tenant on chance
visitors to this exceedingly remote, and, to
THE student's ^^IFE. 15
more than three parts of the world, un-
heard-of village. Iso, I rejoice to say I
have still sufficient intelligence to discern
between the possible and the impossible ;
therefore my intention is, when the cot-
tage arrives at completion, to advertise it
in most of the London paj)ers ; and also, to
send a di'awing of it, which Tessie shall
make, to the principal house agents in the
metropolis. I believe, my love, you will
now admit that my plan is a very perfect
one in all its parts and details."
" You are, undoubtedly, an excessively
clever man, Dr. Berrington," said theT\4fe,
with a smile of genuine admiration. *' But,
now, for the second idea you spoke of; I
am quite ciu'ious to know what that can
'' Ah ! " replied the rector, thoughtfully,
" that must be quite an after consideration ;
and, ^dth yom' leave, I will defer the com-
munication of it until we see how the fii'st
one works. At present, I want you and
Theresa to put your bonnets on, and go
16 THE student's WIFE.
with me to look at the piece of ground on
which our future cottage is to stand. You
know my maxim — ' Whatever is to be
done, let it be done quickly.' "
Dr. Berrington was one of those indi-
viduals who in the world are called "lucky."
Almost everything he undertook prospered
heyond his most sanguine expectations,
and the present project was not destined
to form an exception to this general rule.
In a word, the pretty cottage ornee sprang
up as if by magic, and the quiet people at
Elderton were becoming enthusiastic con-
cerning then' new rector, who, though he
preached in the little oaken pulpit every
Sunday, as man had never preached there
before, was yet not too proud to doff his
neat, clerical dress on working days, and
assist in the painting, papering, and deco-
rating of this rapidly progressing cottage.
Mrs. Berrington and Theresa had also
their allotted daily tasks, but the latter
18 THE student's WIFE.
evinced the most diligence, and performed
her part, indeed, to such perfection, that
the rector insisted on giving her name to
the house, and ''Theresa Cottage" was
consequently printed in very large letters
just below the slanting roof, and many
months before there was the slightest
chance of its requiring a distinctive appel-
lation of any kind whatever.
But at length the word " Pinis 1" was
pronounced by the triumphant architect
and proprietor ; a flag of dazzling colours
was hoisted from one of the gothic chim-
neys, the advertisements were written out,
and Theresa's drawing received the last
finishing touches, preparatory to its depar-
ture for the great metropolis.
It was quite an amusing thing, during
the week or fortnight that followed, to
listen to the endless variety of conjectures
hazarded by each member of the parsonage
chicle, as to the style, manner, and appear-
ance of the future tenants of Theresa Cot-
tage. Ample space had been allowed in
THE student's WIFE. 19
its construction for the accommodation of
a large family; and that the head of a
large family would, sooner or later, answer
one of the attractive advertisements, daily
appearing in the London joiu^nals, was the
firm and unchangeable conviction of all
interested in the matter. But day suc-
ceeded day, and week succeeded week,
without bringing, in any shape whatever,
the anxiously expected application ; and
even the sanguine rector was beginning to
experience sundiy uncomfortable misgiv-
ings, when, one morning, the subjoined
letter was put into his eager hands : —
" I have just seen, by accident, your advertisement
in this morning's paper, and as I am at present in search
of a perfectly quiet and secluded dwelling-house, I think
it probable that the one here referred to may meet my
views. Trusting to your kindness to send me, at your
earliest convenience, full particulars relative to the cot-
tage at Elderton,
" I remain, sir,
" Your obedient servant,
" Annie Forrest.
" P.S. — I have no family, and keep but one female
20 THE student's wife.
*' Well," said Dr. Berrington, as he laid
down the laconic epistle, which, for the
benefit of his anxious companions, he had
read aloud, " Well, it was scarcely worth
while to build a house for the pleasure of
becoming landlord to a crabbed old maid,
with one female servant. Tessie, I am
afraid your pretty flower garden will have
small chance of being appreciated now,
whatever may be the honour paid to
mamma's fine cupboards."
The rector spoke cheerfully and plea-
santly, as, to his credit be it told, he nearly
always did ; but it was not difiicult to per-
ceive that he really felt great disappoint-
ment at this death-blow to his hopes of
sociable and intellectual neighbours.
Had the present application arrived at
an earlier period, there is no doubt that it
would have been cast aside disdainfully, as
imworthy a second thought; but experi-
ence had convinced the amiable rector of
Elderton, that even gothic cottages may
sometimes "go a begging;" and he was
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 21
not in those flourishing: worldly circum-
stances to make the interest of the large
sum expended in this last speculation a
matter of little moment to him.
On the contrary, it was highly important
that Theresa Cottage shoidd begin to be
useful as well as ornamental ; and, all
things considered, there was nothing to be
done but to write immediately to Mrs.
Amiie Porrest, and give her those par-
ticulars concerning the place that might,
at once, decide the worthy lady to become
its enviable occupant, or to abandon all
thoughts of it for ever.
The former result was obtained by the
letter dispatched tliat night to London ;
and a day was fixed, early in the ensuing
week, for the arrival of the rector's tenant,
with all her household goods, at Elderton.
It was the spring-time of the year, and
Theresa, though sharing in some degree
her father's disappointment concerning the
first occupant of her namesake cottage, was
most anxious that the flower garden should
22 THE student's wife.
do credit to the care bestowed on it, and
wear a smiling aspect, to welcome its new
mistress. So, every day the rector's pretty
daughter might be seen bending amongst
the green shrubs and half-opened flowers
that her own fair hands had planted, or
training delicate creepers round the wooden
pillars of the gothic porch, with a taste and
skill that one would scarcely expect to find
exhibited by such a very quiet looking,
unassuming little girl.
The day before Mrs. Porrest was expected
to arrive, Theresa had worked so indefati-
gably, that when the evening came she
felt almost too tired to walk home ; and,
thinking it possible that her father might
come to fetch her, she seated herself on a
rustic bench just within the porch of the
cottage, and began that pleasant, idle sort
of dreaming, in which we all, at one period
or other of our lives, have been accustomed
It was a luxury, however, of which
Theresa Berrington was only beginning to
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 23
be conscious ; and there were still visions
of new bonnets, of delicious gallops on a
long promised pony, and of crossed letters
from dear female friends, mingling Tsitli
those anticipations of deeper and more
mysterious interest, whose very nature was,
at present, the sweetest mystery of all.
But, on the occasion in question, Theresa's
innocent castle-building came to an im-
timely end, by the sudden unlatching of
the garden gate, which caused her to rise
hastily from her seat, and advance, with
wondering looks, to meet the indi^-idual
^\'ho had broken so unceremoniously on her
One glance sufficed to couAince the
rector's daughter that it was a stranger
she saw before her ; and a stranger, too,
of a stamp by no means common at
The lady — for it icas a lady, and no
interesting hero dropped from the clouds
on purpose to initiate Theresa into the
charming mysteries of which she had been
24 THE STUDENT^ S WIPE.
vaguely dreaming — paused abruptly when
she perceived Miss Berrington, and began
in rather an embarrassed, nervous manner :
" I really was not aware — I have to
apologise for intruding ; but I had under-
stood that "
'' Oh pray," interrupted Theresa, already
wonderfully interested in her very pale
and sad-looking companion, " do not say a
word about intruding. You probably heard
that this cottage was to let ; and so it was
until a few days ago. I am so sorry, if you
did come to see it, that it should have been
taken previously. We were most anxious
to secure a pleasant neighbour, and I
The faintest possible blush on the still
fair cheek of the stranger lady caused
Theresa, at this point, to stop, and to
reflect that she was getting much more
confidential than she had any right to be.
" I am sure," she continued presently, as
the other did not speak, " we should have
liked you for a tenant exceedingly. There
is no societv at Elderton."
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 25
** You are Dr. Berrington's daughter,
then, I presume," said the lady, smiling
for the first time, in what Theresa thought
a most fascinating manner.
" Yes ; and you are — forgive me, if I am
taking too great a liberty" —
" I am Mrs. Forrest, your father's new
tenant," replied the stranger, extending
her hand very cordially to the now blush-
ing and confused Theresa; ''and I am
happy that an accident has thus intro-
duced us to each other, as I had fully made
up my mind to shun all and every acquaint-
ance, without the slightest reference to
their merits or deserts."
Mrs. Porrest probably volunteered this
information to give her young companion
time to recover from her siu^prise and con-
fusion, for she was not a person of many
words, and her own private thoughts or
intentions were about the last subjects she
was in the habit of making public. Theresa
felt and appreciated this graciousness ; but
it was some little time before she could ex-
VOL. I. c
26 THE student's wife,
press any part of the delight she really-
experienced in the idea of having such a
charming, interesting, and altogether un-
common sort of person for a neighbour —
perhaps an intimate friend. Por had not
Mrs. Porrest herself insinuated that she
should henceforth consider Theresa an ex-
ception to the rule of shunning all acquaint-
ances which she so candidly confessed having
To the rector's simple, inexperienced little
daughter, this was, indeed, an adventure
of a most exciting natiu'e ; and Mrs. Porrest
must have been more of a misanthrope than
her looks proclaimed her to be, had she re-
ceived coldly or indifferently the eager and
assiduous attentions that her new acquaint-
ance appeared disposed to lavish upon her.
They first went all over the house to-
gether, Theresa leading the way, and be-
coming every minute more at her ease with
the quiet, ladylike Mrs. Porrest, who, now
that she had said what was required, and
explained what she deemed necessary, sank
THE student's WIFE. 27
back to a natural or acquired reserve of
manner, and allowed her young companion
to have the whole conversation to herself.
The latter, however, was abundantly
satisfied with the praises bestowed on her
flower-garden, and with Mrs. Porrest's
assurance that this should be, for Theresa's
sake, the ol)ject of her o^tl especial care.
" But I am not much of a horticultu-
rist," she continued; "and I shall really
feel very grateful if you will come and look
after these pretty flowers as often as pos-
sible. You say you have no society at
Elderton ; otherwise, believe me, I should
scruple to invite you to so dull and lonely
a place as any home of mine must be."
"Oh!" said Theresa, eagerly, "I shall
never find it dull or lonelv. It will be so
kind of you to let me come."
Mrs. Eorrest looked half sm^prised and
half affected at this girlish enthusiasm con-
cernmg the doubtful privilege of visiting
a middle-aged, spiritless, unamusing person
like herself ; but she saw that it was genu-
28 THE student's wiee.
ine — and Theresa Berrington became, from
that m.oment, an object of singular and
affectionate interest to a heart that, in all
the wide world, had not a single creature
on whom to lavish its still fresh and unpol-
luted springs of tenderness and love.
The new friends parted at the gate of the
parsonage, Mrs. Porrest to return alone to
the quiet village inn, where, with her one
female servant, she was awaiting the ar-
rival of her furniture, and Theresa to has-
ten into the comfortable parlour of her
happy home, and relate to her wondering
parents every detail of the charming adven-
ture which had filled her innocent heart
with such pleasurable anticipations, and
would give them all an interesting topic of
conversation for many days to come.
As spring advanced, "Theresa Cottage'''
became the admiration, if not the envy, of
the whole neighbom^iood, and Mrs. Eor-
rest looked around her, day by day, and felt
that at last " the lines had fallen to her in
pleasant places." That peace for which
she had vainly sighed during so many
clouded years was now within her grasp ;
that absence of all external causes of excite-
ment, which she had despaired of ever
again experiencing, was now her daily por-
tion. And she sat thankfully, if not yet
rejoicingly, under her own vine and her
own fig tree, none making her afraid.
But a long course of mental suffering
leaves other traces of its footsteps than the
blanching of the cheek and the silvering of
the hair ; and although these outward and
visible signs of past sorrow had set their
30 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
eternal seal upon gentle Mrs. Porrest, it
was in a more kindly manner than that
sphit which works secretly upon the in-
most heart had done. Eor this had thrown
a dark veil over the beautiful face of nature,
had distorted everything in the external
world, had represented the waters of life as
all bitter to the taste, and, finally, had ex-
hibited death as the only refuge from suf-
ferings which even long habit and consti-
tutional ]3atience and meekness could not
The blanched cheek and the silvered hair
would soon blend gracefully with advanc-
ing age ; but years and years must pass
before the poor bruised heart could see
through the dark veil which grief had
woven for it — the bright sun shining upon
the world, as it had shone in those early
days when sorrow was a poem of the ima-
gination, and life a fair dream, in which
this poem could find no place for represen-
Mrs. Porrest had been eminently calcu-
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 31
lated to adorn as well as to enjoy society ;
but, except for a very brief space, she had
done neither, and it would have been a vain
task to endeavour to persuade her that she
had yet ample capabilities for both. Her
intention, when she came to Elderton, was,
as she had informed Theresa Berrington, to
shun even those every- day acquaintances
which are almost indispensable to our
social condition, but which the friendless
widow fancied would only be an aggra-
vation of her loneliness.
The accidental meeting with Theresa pre-
vented, however, the entire carrying out of
this purpose, as it was impossible to receive
the daughter on friendly terms without be-
coming, in some degree, intimate with the
parents, who would, indeed, have been
grievously disappointed had their interest-
ing and amiable tenant persisted in the
barbarous intention of closing her door
and her heart against such unobtrusive
advances as theu's.
But although Mrs. Forrest did not do
32 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
this, she never professed — because she
never felt — any vivid pleasure in the com-
panionship of the rector or his wife. The
former was too much in love with the
world and its thousand innocent enjoy-
ments, too earnest and energetic in all his
words and actions, to suit one who desired
nothing under the sun but entire freedom
from excitement; and Mrs. Berrington,
though calm and quiet enough for a saint,
had a mind too practical and minute to
accord with that of her reserved and grief-
They had not a thought in common ;
except it might be concerning Theresa ;
and the affectionate mother was not dis-
pleased at discovering that, if there was a
subject which could rouse the interest of
''that strange Mrs. Eorrest," and win a
smile from those pale, calm lips, it was the
subject of her own dear daughter's past
life and future prospects.
" We do not expect or wish our Theresa
to form a grand connection," the rector's
THE student's WIFE. 33
sensible wife observed one day, in conver-
sation with Mrs. Porrest ; *' nor should I
care for her marrying at all, did I not
conscientiously believe that there is no
other state of life in which a woman can
be so useful and so happy."
The Avidow looked up suddenly as her
companion said this ; and there was such
an expression of pure wonder in her usually
quiet eye, that Mrs. Berrington felt con-
strained to say, somewhat anxiously, —
" Sm^ely, Mrs. Forrest, you must think
with me in this matter !"
The other had a momentary flush over
all her face; but, as this subsided, she said,
in her old, placid way —
" I am of opinion that usefulness and
happiness may accompany any state of life,
but that they are both more easy of attain-
ment to the single than to the married
''Well, you certainly surprise me
greatly," replied Mrs. Berrington, and her
looks attested the truth of what she said ;
34 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
but not being an argumentative person,
she suffered the subject to drop — only
observing, as a sort of sudden thought,
when she was going away —
" By the bye, my dear Mrs. Porrest, I
think it may be as well for you not to give
Theresa an unfavourable impression con-
cerning matrimony. She has such an un-
bounded admiration for you and all your
opinions, that I should quite despair of
ever eradicating any ideas she had ac-
quired from you."
''It is a subject on which I never
willingly speak," said the widow quietly ;
'' and, if I mistake not"— with a momen-
tary smile — ''your daughter has already
begun to think for herself in this most
"What! my Tessie?" exclaimed the
mother, with a little incredulous laugh.
" Oh no, there I know you are deceived ;
Theresa is a perfect child in every respect,
and has not a thought beyond her home
and its simple pleasures."
THE student's WIFE. 35
" Then, long, ven^ long, may she con-
tinue so," replied Mrs. Forrest T^ith singu-
lar earnestness ; '' and Heaven forbid that
I should be the first to make her dream of
matrimony in any way whatever."
Mi's. Berrington appeared quite satisfied
now, and returned home to tell her hus-
band that she was thoroui^hlv convinced
their mysterious tenant had experienced
domestic trials of no common kind; and
that she verily believed Mrs. Forrest re-
garded matrimony as something too hor-
rible to be spoken of, except in the way
that children speak of spectres and hob-
goblins, hiding then* pale faces, and
shuddering in every fibre till the subject
"Poor thing, poor thing!" said the
rector, absently, " I have no doubt she
will marrv as^ain."
'' Goodness, Dr. Berrington ! you must
surely be dreaming. Fancy Mrs. Forrest
marrvino? asrain !"
" Well, my dear, and why not ? Elder-
36 THE STUDENT^S WIFE.
ton may become a very populous neigh-
bourhood yet. I think, indeed, the chances
are that it will."
" But, I cannot see, even if it should,
how that could influence Mrs. Porrest.
I did not mean that she would never have
a chance of changing her name ; because,
of course, she is yet quite young enough
to attract many middle-aged men. I
*' Yes, yes, my dear, good, sensible Jane,
I know precisely what you meant," inter-
rupted the rector, in rather an impatient
manner ; " but the fact is, I am not think-
ing of our excellent neighbour at this
moment. You may remember my men-
tioning to you, when I first proposed
building a house, another scheme that had
suggested itself to me as a means of insu-
ring an enlarged circle of acquaintance."
'' Certainly," said the w]fe, promptly ;
" I never forget anything you have once
spoken to me about. What was it, my
THE student's WIFE.
"Well, as we are alone, I Mill tell you
now. It was, and is — for I have at length
resolved upon carrying it into execution —
to receive a limited number of yoimg men
to read with me during the vacations —
not boys to teach, you understand ; but
young men, who will be glad to ruralise
for a few months, and keep up their
classics, instead of idling away their time
about town, and being a disgrace to theii-
friends, and a nuisance to everybody else.
I feel assured there are hundi^eds who Avill
gladly avail themselves of so favom-able an
opportunity for improvement and country
recreations. But you wish to offer some
remark, Mrs. Berrington.''
"I really fear," said the attentive wife,
half timidly, and as if doubtful whether
she had a right to fear anytliing that her
husband did not fear, " that oiu' having
such a very pretty daughter at home would
make this plan an unwise one. You know
Theresa is now seventeen and a half, and
that she is more than commonly attractive.
38 THE student's wife.
I am sure I cannot be called a foolish or a
nervous mother; but I certainly do not
quite like the idea of having young men
living in the house."
" Pooh, pooh ! my dear," said the rector,
in rather a hastier tone than usual — for he
was not in the habit of meeting with do-
mestic opposition, even in the mildest
form. '^ Pooh, pooh ! do you suppose I
have not weighed all the pros and cons of
the case before mentioning it to you ? I
am quite aware that our little girl has a
face and figure that we need not be
ashamed of; but I am also aware that she
has one of the simplest and most innocent
minds that was ever given to a daughter
of Eve. Tessie would only laugh if any-
body talked love nonsense to her ; besides,
these young men are to be my companions
— not your's or your daughter's."
'' But we must see them daily, I sup-
" At meal times, of course ; but unless
you give us much worse dinners than you
THE student's WIFE. 39
are in the habit of doing, 111 answer for
my pupils being better occupied than in
making love to a silly little puss who has
never read a novel or a line of sentimental
poetry in her life."
Mrs. Eerrington, though far from insen-
sible to the implied compliment concern-
ing her domestic management, still looked
restless and uneasy; and her husband
perceiving this, grew a little firmer and
more authoritative in his manner, know-
ing, from experience, that argument would
be of no avail whatever, and that, if he
carried his point at all, it must be by
taking the highest ground, and assuming
resistance or opposition to be quite out of
It is but fair to state that the rector be-
lieved conscientiously in the safety and
wisdom of his plan. His love for Theresa
was quite as warm and tender as her
mother's could be; but it lacked, as a
father's affection generally does, that
watchfulness against evil — that anxiety to
40 THE student's WIPE.
guard the beloved one from the very ap-
proach of danger which, perhaps, belongs,
in its most enlarged meaning, exclusively
to maternal instinct.
This little conjugal dispute terminated,
as similar differences in the rector's family
invariably did terminate — namely, in the
complete triumph of the clever and ener-
getic husband, and the grave, though good-
humoured, acquiescence of the affectionate
and yielding wife.
The former went away to his comfort-
able study, for the purpose of laying the
first stone of his new undertaking; and
the latter found temporary relief from her
very natural anxieties in considering which,
or how many, of her cherished cupboards
she could give up for the accommodation
of the yoimg gentlemen when they should
actually become domesticated in her hus-
On one of the loveliest evenings of that
lovely spring, when nature, tilled of keep-
ing jubilee during the livelong day, was
settling into her beautiful and dreamy rest,
the solitary tenant of Theresa Cottage sat
within its rustic porch, looking anxiously
and even nervously dovra the green lane,
wliich terminated in the high road leading
both to Elderton and the more distant
county toTNTi of Oxendean.
The lonely, friendless widow, who found
it almost too exciting for her shattered
nerves to receive a visit from the gentle-
manly rector or liis quiet wife, was now
evidently awaiting the arrival of some far
more important guest, whose anticipated
advent had power to flush deeply the pale
cheek of gentle Mrs. Porrest, and to change
her usual expression of profound serenity
42 THE student's wipe.
into one of very decided and really painful
restlessness. I cannot better explain the
cause of all this than by laying before you
the letter which had arrived at Theresa
Cottage the preceding day. Here it is : —
" My dear Annie,
" You will start, I have no doubt, at seeing
yourself thus familiarly addressed in a hand that can
scarcely, after so many years, be familiar to you ; but
a few words will satisfy your curiosity and plead my
excuse. I am your old schoolfellow and friend, Lilla
Boyne — or, rather, Lilla Ashton now ; for, of course, I
made a fool of myself, like all the rest of us, and mar-
ried the very moment I had a chance of doing so. The
consequence of this insane act has been a nineteen
years' broiling beneath an eastern sun (for it was a
red coat and a pair of epaulets that won my marvel-
lously silly heart) ; and now that I have returned to
my native country, for the purpose of looking after
our only child, a daughter, who was sent home to be
educated, I find nearly all my old cronies dead or in
distant lands, and feel myself more lonely than the
individual who sold his own shadow to that black-coated
gentleman of whom you remember our respected pre-
ceptress used to speak so darkly and mysteriously.
Jesting apart, my dear friend, I am really dying to look
once again upon an old, familiar face ; and having, by
THE student's WIFE. 43
the merest accident, discovered your present where-
abouts, I am on the point of starting for the outlandish
place you have chosen to dwell in. If I am right in my
reckoning, you may expect to see me sometime during
the day after this will reach you ; and, as I was never
famous for epistolary compositions, you will understand
why I leave all further particulars to be communicated
when we meet. Claiming your indulgence for the veiy
imceremonious manner in which I have presented my-
self to your notice,
" I remain, my dear Annie,
" Yours most sincerely and affectionately,
" LiLLA ASIITON."
The first emotion of which Mrs. Porrest
was conscious, after reading this singular
letter, was a decidedly unpleasant one —
a mingling of instinctive vexation and of
nervous dread at the thoughts of having
her quiet, monotonous life broken in upon
by an event equally unexpected and un-
wished for. The idea that she might be
questioned as to the past, that she might
be led to speak, even in the most general
manner, of those trials which night and day
she was struggling and praying to forget.
44 THE student's WIFE.
was agonizing beyond expression to this
timid and nearly heart-broken woman.
All that day she was truly miserable,
and wandered up and down the house like
a troubled spirit, vainly trying to nerve
herself for the coming meeting.
An almost sleepless night made the
matter very little better; but on rising
and going into her pretty garden, the in-
fluences of the sweet flowers and the sing-
ing birds, and the pure, delicious atmos-
phere, went to her very heart, and calmed,
in a great measure, those terribly nervous
feelings which had been nearly insupport-
able on the previous day.
Towards evening, though still in an ex-
ceedingly restless and agitated state, Mrs.
Eorrest became partly reconciled to the
inevitable meeting with her early friend ;
and at the time when I have presented
her to your notice, sitting in the cottage
porch, and looking anxiously down the
green lane, her thoughts had wandered
from her own present sensations far, far
THE STUDENT S WIPE. 45
back into the past, when she and Lilla
Bo}TLe were careless, happy gii'ls together
— when they had vowed eternal friendship
beneath the cedar on the old school lawn,
and believed that life could bring no
sweeter or more exciting hour than that.
But memorj^ had other scenes to exhibit
wherein this sudden friendship shone T\dth
a fainter light, and wherein the beautiful
and haughty Lilla had trampled on her
meeker companion and shaken the pure
faith which the latter had fondly believed
to be founded on a rock of adamant ;
scenes, too, wherein specious excuses had
been offered and hastv reconciliations
made, to be followed by fresh and more
provoking offences, and renewed — though
ever colder assurances of forgiveness — on
the part of the injured and oppressed.
But standing out prominently from all
earlier reminiscences was that of the fair
summer night which had preceded the last
parting of these so-called friends, ere they
went forth from the narrow world of
46 THE student's wife.
school life into the wide and restless arena
of the great world of pleasure beyond —
went forth with what bright, hoping
hearts ! with what gay, careless, life-
enamoured spirits ! — Lilla Boyne in her
proud, stately beauty, and Annie Mervyn
in her exquisite prettiness, gentleness, and
Yes, through the long vista of nearly
twenty years, the poor lonely widow saw
herself, as she had been at eighteen, as
distinctly as she saw fair Lilla Boyne, and
all the other thronging forms that made
up the scene on that bright summer's
She saw the moonlighted lawn, and the
dear old spreading cedar, casting its heavy
shadows over the soft green turf, and the
clumps of arbutus and laurustinus shedding
their delicate perfumes on the sultry but
still most delicious air. All was delicious
in those early days ; and at this period of
delightful and bewildering excitement —
this precursor of that glorious liberty which
THE student's WIFE. 47
should atone for ten thousand times the
thraldom of the years that had gone by —
was it strange that those young, hoping
hearts, should become intoxicated with
their o^vn happiness, and see enchantment
written on every flower that grew, and on
every wind that a\ hispered aroimd them ?
Poor, desolate, friendless woman ! press
those thin fingers tightly over those burn-
ing and brimming eyes ; but the visions
will not depart for tliis, nor yet for thy
weary sighs, nor for that terrible and suffo-
cating emotion which rises in the quivering
throat, and thi^eatens to have vent in a
loud cry of woe, that the solitary pillow
alone should be privileged to hear.
Fair, moving forms ; bright, glancing
eyes ; young, rosy cheeks ; and joyous
thrilling voices — there they all are ! And
music — quick, inspiring music — is floating
on the smnmer air ; and fairy feet are
gliding and springing over the rustling
grass ; and white arms are wreathing in
girlish tenderness and animation; and all
48 THE student's wife.
is delicious gaiety, reckless excitement, and
Lilla Boyne and Annie Mervyn are the
patronesses of this farewell fete; and the
dancing over, how eagerly the rest of those
young, giddy creatures crowd round these
two envied beings, who on the morrow will
leave for ever that grey, neutral ground
between childhood and womanhood, to
emerge into the full, dazzling blaze of the
latter state, which must, of necessity, com-
prehend the realisation of every dream of
happiness that can suggest itself to the
Poor, desolate, friendless woman! who
is that wild, laughing, Hebe girl, keeping
ever at your side, and seeming to glory in
the demonstrations of esteem and affection
that your approaching departure have
called forth from the thronging school
girls, and of which the haughty Lilla gets
a somewhat scantier share ? How is it
that one, who seemed to love and cling to
you so tenderly then, should have no part
THE student's WIFE.
in your present sadness — should leave you
to suffer and to weep alone r
Ah ! you see, now, that light, bounding
form — you hear, now, that sweet, ringing
laugh — you can almost feel those losing
kisses upon yoiu* poor, quivering lips ; and
this is why the sob, so long repressed,
bursts forth, at last, with such wild
anguish, as you lean against the trellis
work of the rustic porch, and pray, silently,
but fervently, for grace to bear meekly
this bitter, bitter curse of memory ! — this
" sorrow's cro^^n of sorrow — remembering
But, where is she — and where are they
all ? And what has become of those radiant
hopes — those sweet, sweet anticipations,
which made that summer's eve so bright,
and caused you to part with something of
the old affection, even from proud Li 11a
Bo^^le ; and to forgive freely every past
offence, in favoiu' of the new life and the
new joys that were opening before you
VOL. I. D
50 THE STUDENT S WIEE.
Poor, desolate, friendless woman ! Is that
far-off grave " so cold and deep," indeed
the dwelling place of merry, graceful,
loving Emily Mervyn — the dear, dear
sister of your happier years ? And are all
your old companions scattered over the
husy, restless world? And have the
cruel v»^inds — the cold, cold moaning winds
of earthly tribulation — taken away those
bright and glowing hopes which your
gentle, timid heart so fondly cherished ?
Weep on, then ; and press those thin
fingers tightly over those burning and
brimming eyes ; for, not yet will the grave
give up its dead; and not in this world
will the hopes of youth — those glorious
rainbow-tinted hopes — have a second birth.
Weep on, daughter of affliction ; but
forget not to mingle with thy weeping
prayer and self-abasement, that, at the
great harvest, thy lot may be amongst the
number of those who, having sown in
tears, shall reap in joy — joy unspeakable,
and full of glory.
THE student's WIFE. 51
But, in my compassion for gentle Mrs.
Forrest, I have wandered from the present
scene, and presumed to glance into that
dread future, of which we know so little, and
should ever approach with such heartfelt
reverence and solemnity. Let me retrace
The sun is fast sinking behind the dis-
tant hills ; the night breeze is beginning
to rustle gently amongst the garden trees ;
a few solitary birds are flying sAviftly to
their woodland homes ; and Mrs. Forrest
has mped away her rebellious tears, and
is moving slowly and wearily along the
gravelled path towards the gate which
opens on the lane.
She has heard the sound of distant car-
riage wheels ; and longing, now, only for
the meeting to be over, she makes one
mighty effort to nerve her poor, weak
spirit, and stands pale, mournful, but out-
wardly composed, in readiness to receive
and welcome her uninvited guest.
Wliat a strange contrast to the gay,
o„ OF ILL ua.
52 THE student's wife.
smiling, youthful looking lady, who leans
from the window of her chaise, as it ap-
proaches the cottage gate, and evidently
fails to recognise, in the grief- worn woman
standing there, the blooming Annie
Mervyn, of her girlish days.
But Mrs. Porrest was prepared for this ;
and, when her elegant visitor, descending
from the carriage, advanced with some-
what hesitating steps, and inquired if she
was mistaken in believing that a lady of
the name of Eorrest resided there, the pale
widow held out her hand, and said, in a
firm voice —
" Lilla, I am Annie Porrest."
They were seated, face to face, mthin the
parlour of the cottage ; they were looking
at each other earnestly and gravely. Even
the light, worldly Lilla Ashton was utterly
subdued for the moment by the striking
chancre in her earlv friend. Eor a minute
or so neither of them spoke.
But, presently, Mrs. Ashton rallied, and,
stretching out her hand, for the second
time, said, in a very soft and pleasing
" How foolish we both are. I cannot
imagine how I could have been such a
very goose as to expect to find you any-
thing like the Annie Mervyn I knew long
years ago. I am really unfeignedly glad
to renew our acquaintance ; and if we are
changed outwardly, that is no reason why
we should be so inwardly. I am quite
54 THE student's wife.
aware that I look at least a hundred and
ninety-nine, myself; but, then, that Indian
climate is so cruelly destructive to the
'' You are very little altered," said Mrs.
Eorrest, quietly, and beginning to recover
from her first emotion.
'' Oh, my dear creature, you only flatter
me, I am sure. Positively, I quite dread
going to the glass of a day ; but this is all
nonsense, when we must have such loads
and loads to talk about. How do you
think I found you out ?"
" I have no idea."
"Well, it was very funny; a complete
fatality, I am perfectly convinced. You
must know that my la^vyer married a
daughter, or a sister, or a grandmother, or
a something of your lawyer's. It couldn't
be a grandmother, by the bye, because
your lawyer is, himself, I believe, a man
of sixty, and mine is not more than thirty ;
but, at all events, it was a near relative,
and so the whole liistory came out one day
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 55
when I was inquiring' of my factotum — he
is such a clever creatm^e — whether he
knew anything of any of the old friends I
had left in England ? Of course, he told
me ahout your marriage, and that it was
suspected your Imshand had led you a
pretty life ; and that"
" I am a mdow, Lilla," interrupted
Mrs. Eorrest, in a tone of grave reproof,
while a strange trembling came suddenly
over all her frame.
"Yes, yes, I know that; hut do you
mean that I am ^^Tong in alluding to the
past ? Upon my word, I have forgotten
the ways of yoiu' Enghsh world ; and you
must forgive me if I offend unT\dttingly."
"Let me hear ahout yourself. Yours
has been a happy lot — to judge, at least,
by outward appearances ; and you have a
" Well, about myself there is very little
to relate. I married young — for love, of
coiu-se ; though, fortimately, my husband
had a tolerable income even then. I
56 THE student's wife.
accompanied him to India a few months
after our marriage, and there I have re-
mained quietly ever since; but Colonel
Ashton took it into his head to send me
off to see about Carry. So here I am;
and here I must abide patiently, until the
good ship Oriana — in which I have
secured my passage to Madras — shall be
ready to return thither."
" And your daughter goes with you, of
Mrs. Ashton uttered a little laugh as
she replied —
" No, indeed, she doesn't. Carry is the
oddest girl in all the world. She has
taken it into her old-fashioned head — upon
my word, that girl of mine has the notions
of a woman of ninety — she has positively
taken it into her ridiculous head, that a
young lady cannot go to India without
being supposed to want a husband. Colo-
nel Ashton wished me to give her a choice
in the matter, and Miss Carry has chosen
to remain in England."
THE student's WIPE. 57
**It must be a severe trial to you to
leave her behind," Mrs. Forrest said.
A very slight suffusion came over the
other's cheek at this observation. She
was silent a moment, and then answered,
in rather a light, jesting tone —
" Oh ! I don't pretend to be violently
affected at it ; though, of course, I am not
blind to the absence of filial affection
which it manifests. The fact is. Carry
and I are nearly strangers to each other.
She left me before she was ten years old ;
and has, naturally, since then, received
her impressions from those amongst whom
she has been living."
"I think you said she had been at
"Yes, and a very excellent one I do
really believe; but there is, you know,
frequently, with these people — these keep-
ers of educational establishments — a nar-
rowness of mind that one would not desire
to find commim.icated to their pupils. I
am sm^e poor Carry is awfuUy prejudiced
and self-opiniated." d 3
58 THE student's wife.
" She lias, of course, been with you
since your arrival in England ?"
" Not all the time ; for her ladyship pro-
fesses an abhorrence of fashionable society ;
and as I have been necessarily rather gay
myself, we did not get on quite comfort-
" Yoti^ gay?" said Mrs. Porrest, in sur-
prise ; " I thought you said in your letter,
that you found yourself so terribly lonely."
Again Mrs. Ashton coloured, and this
time more perceptibly than before.
'^Oli!" she said, '' so I was, at particu-
lar seasons ; for, of course, there is little
real enjo^nnent in dissipation : by the bye,
I have got that Avord from Carry, I am
sure. But, as I was observing, there is
nothing in an endless round of parties, and
such like, that can satisfy the heart when
it is yearning for old associations, and all
that sort of thing. But, what was I going
to tell you ? Oh, I know, now. You re-
member Janet Lawrence, I suppose?"
"Perfectly. She made a love match
THE student's WIFE. 59
before we left school, I have heard, and
has had many trials to encounter."
" Poor thing ! I dare say she has ; but
the elegant proverb of ' every dog has liis
day' has been recently verified in her case ;
for her husband, Mr. Singleton — through
the deaths of I don't know how many per-
sons — young, old, and middle-aged — has
come in, not only for an ancient baronetcy,
but a fortune of twelve thousand a year."
" Poor Janet ! what a great change for
*' Happy Janet, you should say ; for she
is, or ought to be, as happy as the day is
long. I liave seen her very often of late,
as they have taken a splendid town-house,
and are doing the thing in style, I can
*' Is there a family ?"
*'That is just what I am coming to.
There is only one son, who has, of course,
gro\^^l suddenly into a person of consider-
able importance. He is somewhat of an
oddity, but quite a gentleman, and, his
60 THE student's WIFE.
mother says, remarkably clever into the
bargain.^ Hitherto his education has been
rather desultory, owing to their straitened
means; and, I fancy, they are going to
send him to study with a clergyman, as he
declares loudly against the universities;
and he has been a bit of a spoiled child."
" How old is he now ?"
" Near about three and twenty, I think ;
but he looks ten years more. One of the
steady ones, you see, and almost as old
fashioned in his tastes and notions as my
"They agree well, then, I suppose."
Mrs. Ashton began to evince great in-
terest in the subject she had selected to
talk upon. She settled herself more com-
fortably in her easy chair, drew the foot-
stool closer to her feet, and replied, in
quite an affectionately confidential tone —
** Why, they have never met, at present ;
but the truth is — you see I cannot be re-
served with an old and dear friend like
yourself; — the truth is, both Lady Single-
THE STUDENT'S WIPE. 61
ton — that is, Janet — and myself, think it
would be an excellent thing to make a
match between them. Lawrence Single-
ton has quite an aversion to our sex, and
was never known to pay a girl a compli-
ment in his life. This did not much sig-
nify as long as he remained a poor and
obscure student ; but now that he is heir
to a baronetcy and twelve thousand a year,
his mother is in despau' about him ; and
one day when I was speaking of Carry, it
suddenly occurred to her that, if they
could be throT\TL together, La^^Tence
might come to think differently concern-
Mrs. Porrest looked grave, but offered
no remark ; and, presently, the other con-
'*We fancied, at first, that this would
be of easy accomplishment, as Janet pro-
posed taking Carry to live with her until I
return again to England ; but when I
mentioned the plan to that T\ilful daughter
of mine, she said, shortly — * Mamma, I hate
62 THE STUDENT'S WIFE.
Londoiij and the sort of life these Single-
tons are leading. Let me go to some
qniet family in the country, and I ask
nothing else.' Of course, I remonstrated,
argued, and pleaded, hut it was all in vain ;
for though Caroline professed her willing-
ness to ohey any command of her mother's,
she stated, in such forcible terms, her ob-
jection to a London life, that I really had
not the heart to act in complete opposition
to her mshes."
" I think you did rightly and kindly,"
said Mrs. Porrest ; "hut, surely, your
daughter's taste is singular, in a young
and, doubtless, a pretty girl."
"Well, I do not call Carry a pretty
girl," replied the mother; "she is rather
elegant, perhaps, but her face wants
animation and colour. There is nothing
brilliant or striking about her. Still, I agree
with you that it is a very extraordinary
taste, this decided preference for the stupid,
monotonous country. By the bye, how on
earth came you to settle do^vn in such
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 63
an isolated, out-of-the-way, ultra-romantic
sort of place ?"
" It suits me, now, perfectly," said Mrs.
Porrest ; " for I have lived long enough to
discover that there are no blessings to be
compared to peace and tranquillity. All I
crave at present is, complete immunity
from excitement or change of any kind;
and, I believe" — ^ith a very mournful
smile — " that I may reckon on thus much
from destiny ; for lam alone in the loorld^
Mrs. Ashton did not notice the sudden
pallor that overspread her companion's
face at these words. It was e^ddent,
indeed, that her thoughts were wholly en-
grossed by interests of her ot\ti, and that she
had few sympathies to spare for the sor-
rows of her dear old friend, whom, never-
theless, she had made this long, trouble-
some, and expensive journey to see. Mrs.
Porrest was startled from some such re-
flections as these by her guest saying,
abruptly, as if in answer to her last obser-
vation — although there had been a pause
64 THE STUDENT'S WIFE.
of several minutes between — " What, then,
has become of your sister Emily ? Has
she, too, married, and gone far away?'*
" She died, five years ago," replied Mrs.
Forrest, with tears raining, now, down her
pale, thin cheeks.
'' Bless me, you don't say so ! That
gay, pretty, charming creature, whom
everybody blamed, and everybody loved !
How well I can remember her on the
evening of our farewell fete ! Yours and
mine, Annie — when she dressed up as an
old gipsey, and told all our fortunes for us,
making yom's the brightest and the sun-
niest amongst the whole. Ah, well, those
were foolish, but very happy days. Hope
is, after all, so much sweeter than reality ;
but, my dear friend, I am distressing you
by this silly babble. Let us talk of some-
" No, no, Lilla !" said Mrs. Eorrest, in a
choking voice, '' I have shunned, too long,
every allusion to past days and events.
65 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
My heart cannot be the heavier for giving
a voice to the dark thoughts that hannt
me, both in my waking and my sleeping
hours. I will tell you, at least, about poor
Emily, whose days were, indeed, few and
evil ; and who is now sleeping in a far-off,
lonely spot, where neither sorrow nor joy
can ever reach her imiocent, loving heart
Mrs. Ashton immediately assumed a
subdued and attentive look; while her
agitated companion continued —
" You may have heard that Emmy came
to live with me when I married, as our
guardian wanted to travel, and was very
glad to get rid of her. In less than a year
she formed an attachment to a young,
giddy Irishman, who had run through a
large fortmie, and was entirely dependent
on a rich old uncle, li^Tiig, alone, in the
extreme north of Ireland, and reputed to
be as capricious as the ^dnd. They mar-
ried, however ; and, full of love and
romance, started for the residence of this
66 THE student's wiee.
elderly gentleman, who, according to their
expectations, was to settle a handsome
annuity upon them for life. The result
proved how far they had been in error ; for
Mr. Mahon, a confirmed bachelor himself,
had no sympathy with lovers; and,
instead of increasing his nephew's allow-
ance, he withdrew all that he had pre-
viously bestowed on him, and the young,
ignorant, thoughtless creatures were left
to fight their way in the world on poor
Emily's pittance of a hundred and twenty
pounds a year. But this — though bad
enough — was far from the worst part of
the case; for the husband's affections
speedily withered, in the keen air of
poverty and privation ; he grew morose,
and even cruel to my poor, patient sister,
who sank, at last, under the accumulated
trials that she was forced to encounter.
Previous to this, however, she had given
birth to a boy, whose arrival softened, in
some measure, the hard heart of the old
uncle : for, from that time, he allowed
THE student's WIFE. 67
them a trifling sum which, by the poor
young mother's management, sufficed to
maintain themselves and child in tolerable
comfort and respectability. For a few
years, therefore, they did pretty well, as to
outward circumstances; but as the boy
grew up, he manifested such tokens of
recklessness and extravagance, such utter
want of thought, and such a decided taste
for all the expensive pleasures in which
his father had indulged, that my sister
lost all heart, and ceased, I believe, to
struggle any longer Av-itli her destiny. At
any rate, she died when Philip was about
seventeen, and before she had been able to
persuade him to settle steadily to any piu'-
suit or occupation. It is from her letters
that I have gathered all I have now told
you, except the fact of Philip's wildness ;
for she — poor thing ! — always wrote of
him in terms of boundless adoration ; and
the utmost extent of her condemnation
consisted in the expression of a wish, that
her beloved Philip had been bom in a
68 THE student's wife.
higher rank, as he seemed quite unable to
comprehend the necessity of restraining
his natural tastes and inclinations.
" After her death, the uncle adopted his
grandnephew, leaving the father to provide
for himself as he could ; but I have heard
that Philip sent him constant, though
secret supplies, while he lived ; and, in his
last illness, returned to him, and did all
that filial duty could do to lighten those
suflPerings which folly and dissipation had
'* This young man cannot be so bad, then,
after all. I presume he is living still."
"Yes; and it is supposed he will in-
herit all Mr. Mahon's wealth. The latter,
however, is, as I before said, extremely
capricious ; and he has favoured me with
one or two communications, complaining
bitterly of the trouble he has with Philip ;
and giving, indeed, such an account of the
young man, that I should wonder at his
bearing with him at all, had I not heard
that my nephew has a strange sort of
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 69
fascination about him, which few have
ever been able to resist."
" Then, you have not yet seen him your-
*' Oh, no ; nor is it very likely that I
shall do so now. And, truly speaking, I
am not — in spite of much good that is
spoken of him — greatly prej)ossessed in his
favour; for, I cannot help connecting his
^\'ildness and thoughtlessness, in some
measure, ^ith my sweet sister's early
death; and, Lilla, you know how dearly
and entu-ely we loved each other."
Mrs. Forrest paused here, from excess
of emotion, and presently her companion
" Did you see much of poor Emily after
" I never saw her after she left me,"
was the tremulous reply. " But wlien I
became free I visited her grave; and
heard all about her husband and Philip
from an old woman who had lived with
her as servant until she died."
70 THE student's WIFE.
** It is very, very sad," said Mrs. Asli-
ton; "but life is full of such histories;
and the secluded existence you are leading
nourishes vain regrets, and indisposes you
to appreciate the blessings still remaining
" Pardon me," interrupted the widow,
with singular earnestness. '' I am sure no
human being ever appreciated the perfec-
tion of earthly happiness as I appreciate
the one solitary blessing which I now en-
joy — that of rest, mental rest — Lilla ;
which, to you, and to all who dance and
smile through life, has no meaning beyond
listless inanity and insupportable dul-
''Well, I confess, I am not quite pre-
pared, at present, to establish myself in a
hermit's cell; but, at the same time, you
must not fancy that there are no stum-
bling blocks in my path. Now, that tire-
some young person I have the honour of
calling daughter is, I assure you, a source
of infinite trouble to me just now, when I
THE student's WIFE. 71
have so many preparations to make for my
own return to India. AAliere, on earth,
am I to look for a quiet family who will
be disposed to receive, as inmate, a perfect
stranger ; and one, too, who has such old-
fashioned and ^^>^juvenile v\'ays and no-
'' Surely, your factotum, as you call him,
might assist you here!" suggested Mrs.
Forrest, hopelessly blind to the di'ift of
her companion's confidences.
A very charming and playful smile,
Avliich concealed pretty well an irresistible
wrinkling of Mrs. Ashton's polished fore-
head, was, for a few seconds, the only reply
to this; but presently she said — still smiling
most bewitchingly —
'^ How very odd, now, that you should
have referred me, as it Avere, to this really
invaluable individual ; because, when I
mentioned the subject to him, what do
you suppose he answered? You cannot
guess, of com'se, so I must tell you. He
actually wanted me to to ask you to receive
72 THE student's wife.
Carry; and, to tell you the truth I was
so charmed with the idea that I have
thought of nothing else ever since. Of
course I was ignorant of your desire for
complete solitude. But oh, my dear, dear
friend ! if I could persuade you, for the
sake of old times and our once ardent
friendship, to receive my girl, I should
he lightened of such a load of anxiety, and
consider myself your debtor for ever and
Mrs. Ashton spoke with a very graceful
earnestness, and at the last words clasped
her white hands, and looked up beseechingly
to the changing and troubled countenance
of her grave hostess, Avho as soon as she
could find voice to speak, replied —
" Are you really serious, Lilla ? Do you
really know what you are asking ?"
"Serious! good heavens! why should I be
otherwise than serious?" — with a moment-
ary irritation of manner. '' There is, surely,
nothing so very out of nature in one friend
begging another to receive her daughter
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 73
for a few years. Colonel Ashton is a liberal
raan ; and, as far as regards the pecuniary
part of the business, I am quite sure there
need be no difficulty. But" —
"Lilla, you should have knoTVTi me
better," interrupted Mrs. Eorrest, with
a deep, indignant flush. *' I tliink you
do know me better, and that this insinuation
has its source in some other feeling than
injustice ; I scarcely understand you even
now. Tell me, distinctly, what you wish
me to do."
The beautiful guest pushed back her
chair with manifest impatience, looked as
if she thought her companion more than
half a fool, and finally said, in rather a
modulated voice —
^* My dear creature, I am in despair at
having wounded your feelings ; but, upon
my honour, no living being, except your-
self, would have been displeased at my
allusion to money matters. I dare say it
was shockingly vulgar and commonplace,
but so is the world we live in — so am I
VOL. I. E
74 THE student's wife.
myself; and it is just because you are of
a finer and a rarer genus, that I feel per-
suaded Carry and you would agree a
merveille. What do you say now — ^may
I bring her to you next week ?"
Poor Mrs. Porrest raised one hand,
and pressed it tightly against her forehead,
while she gazed into the eager countenance
of her companion, with a perplexity that
would have been ludicrous, but for its too
evident sincerity and an accompaniment
of painful embarrassment, which compelled
compassion for the tender-hearted, sorrow
stricken woman, thus strongly urged to
abandon the dearly bought repose she
valued above all earth's precious gifts,
and for the attainment of which, her
very soul bowed itself in gratitude and
praise to Heaven each day that rose, and
each night that set, upon her little quiet
''Lilla, you know not what you ask,"
she said again, after a prolonged and
uncomfortable pause. "Your daughter
THE student's WIFE. 75
would pine to death in such a place as
this, and with no companion but myself.
Besides, what should I do with her — how
amuse her — how make life even tolerable
to a young, joyous gu'l ? No, no, Mrs.
Ashton. Lilla, do not spr^ak of this
matter any more. It would not do; I
know it would not do."
Lilla Ashton was a shrewd woman,
though not a very imaginative one. She
saw that her old friend was shaken — that
her gentle mind vibrated between its
yearning for repose and solitude, and its
natural tendency to yield in all things to
the will of others. It was cruel, under
such circumstances, to press the subject.
But Mrs. Ashton had no inconvenient
scruples or sensibilities ; she had set her
heart upon getting Carry to Elderton,
and it was of small consequence to her
that the agents she employed should suffer
distress or annoyance in the accomplish-
ment of this cherished object.
Poor Mrs. Porrest was like a bird in the
76 THE student's wife.
snare of the fowler ; and though she
strusro^led and fluttered — almost wildly —
for a hrief sj)ace, the end was no less sure ;
the beautiful Mrs. Ashton was none the
less victorious over her meek and unselfish
It is true that nothins^ definite was de-
cided that nisrht. But the lonely widow
had consented to think the matter over;
and her dreams were full of new and be-
wildering and heart- sickening excitements,
in which Caroline Ashton played the most
conspicuous part, while the night-yisions
of Caroline's mother were all bright and
rosy-hued, and comjorehended subjects
which it would be anticipating too much
to imfold to the reader at present.
Hostess and guest sat side by side at the
breakfiast table the next morning, in the
pleasant little parlour of Theresa Cottage,
The pretty French windows, bordered with
stained glass, were opened to admit the
pure, refreshing breeze, and the perfume
of the sweet flowers — now in their fairest
summer beauty — and the sound of sum-
mer's thousand humming voices, which, to
gentle ^3J>s. Forrest seemed ever to convey
messages of that i>eace and rest her poor
torn heart cherished as its dearest treasures.
Even !Mrs. Ashton was not insensible to
the quiet loveliness of the scene, and, after
discussing a dish of tempting strawberries
— ^which the rector's daughter had thought-
fuDv sent down to srraee her friend's break-
fiast table — the smiling lilla drew her chair
78 THE student's wife.
a little nearer to tlie window, and said, in
her winning voice, —
" Well, really, this is a miniature para-
dise. I can no longer wonder at your
choice of a home, and I declare I shall
quite envy Carry becoming domesticated
in such an enchanting spot. The very
sight of it is enough to make one forswear
the world for ever ; hut it is only widows
(liappy creatures !) who have the power of
following their own inclinations and de-
ciding upon their own localities. By the
bye, Annie, it must cost you a fortune to
keep that garden in such exquisite order."
" It would cost me much more than it
does, hut for the kindness of my landlord's
daughter, who generally comes twice or
thrice a week to look after the flowers and
to scold my poor Susan about the weeds.
This is one of Theresa's usual days, and, if
you can stay long enough, you will see as
pretty a little creature as may be found in
any part of the United Kingdom."
'' Oh, I am no great admirer of rustic
THE student's WIFE. 79
beauty," replied the handsome guest, rather
shortly, and with a curl of the lip which
ought to have proved to Mrs. Forrest the
extreme stupidity she had been guilty of
in speaking to an acknowledged beauty
of the personal attractions of any other
created being under the sun. But, alas !
poor Mrs. Forrest was lamentably deficient
in all kinds of worldly wisdom ; so, instead
of abandoning the subject, or beginning to
temper her praise of Theresa, -she said,
quite earnestly, —
" Oh, but my little gardener is no rustic
damsel. She is our rector's daughter, and
endowed, if I mistake not, with more
than a common share of refinement and
" What rector, what rector, for goodness'
sake?" exclaimed the suddenly animated
listener. '* Not the man who holds the
living of Elderton: he has no grown-up
family, surely ?"
" He has one daughter — my little friend
Theresa," replied Mrs. Porrest. ''But is
80 THE student's WIFE.
Dr. Berrington, then, an acquaintance of
" Oh dear, no," said the other, resuming
her former manner ; " hut I have heard
his name once or twice, and I fancied
somebody had said that he had only one
little girl, quite a child. But I have such
a wretched memory for things that do not
particularly interest me. And so Miss
Berrington is a beauty, is she ?"
" I should rather call her pretty," said
Mrs. Porrest, with a puzzled smile, which
the contradictory statements of her guest
had excited : " hut, as you will probably
see her in a few minutes, it vfould be a
superfluous waste of words to describe
her minutely. Tell me something further
about your daughter instead. If Miss
Ashton is really to be placed under my
charge, I should wish to know enough of
her tastes and disposition as will enable
me, at least, not to run counter to them
in any way."
" My dear friend," answered the mother,
THE student's WIFE. 81
with an irritation which she tried in vain
to conceal, under a jesting manner, " have
I not assured you that Caroline Ashton is
a sealed book to me at present ? I know
only that she hates London and fashion-
able people, and gaiety of every description.
What she loves — if her natiu^e is capable
of such a passion — I have yet to learn.
But, for the rest, I will desh^e Mrs. Lumley
— Carry's governess — to send you forth-
with a written character of your future
guest. This will remove all your scruples;
for the dear old lady raves about the girl
she has educated."
"It is not on my o^ati account that I
am anxious," began Mrs. Eorrest, scarcely
knowing whether this was said seriously or
not; but the other quickly interrupted
" No, no ; I understand everything, and
that you really are the kindest and most
disinterested creature in the universe ; but
you shall have the character for all that.
There was a ring at the bell just now.
82 THE student's wipe.
Will that be your pretty friend, or my
carriage I wonder?"
"It is Theresa," said Mrs. Eorrest, ap-
proaching the open window. " I am glad
you will have an opportunity of seeing my
In another minute Theresa was in the
room, looking as fresh and as pretty as the
rosebuds she carried in her hand, and
blushing beautifully at the presence of the
stylish and haughty stranger, who, with a
cruel disregard of the poor child's feelings,
scanned her from head to foot, and ac-
knowledged Mrs. Eorrest's introduction by
a little patronising nod, which — whatever
might have been its object — made a very
disagreeable impression on the rector's
daughter, and caused her natural shyness
to increase rather than diminish, and her
usual unaffected grace of manner to be-
come constrained and awkward in a most
Mrs. Eorrest saw all this, and regretted
sincerely that her young friend had been
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 83
exposed to such a strange reception from
one whose intercourse with the world
should have taught her courtesy, even if
good feeling failed in suggesting it. But
it was quite clear now that Lilla Ashton
had not cast off the unaniiahle defects of
Lilla Boyne ; and the gentle, peace-lo\ing
widow had an inward trembling, in reflect-
ing that her word had gone forth to be-
come the guardian — the second mother,
indeed — of this woman's daughter.
Theresa lingered a few minutes arrang-
ing the flowers she had brought in some
vases on the table, and then went out of
the room to take off her bonnet and shawl.
Mrs. Eorrest was too much annoyed
with her gtiest to speak iimnediately ; but
she was thinking of asking the latter for
an explanation of her odd manner to Miss
Berrington, when Lilla rose from her seat
and said, carelessly —
" A perfect child of nature, this protege
of yours, Annie. "\Yhat a pity it is, for
the veracity of poets and romancers, that
84 THE student's WIFE.
uncultivated nature should be so peculiarly
" You do not admire Theresa, then ?"
"]^ot in her present crude state, cer-
tainly. What she might become, if re-
modelled by society and art, I do not pre-
sume to determine. The girl has a fine
complexion ; and with men, I believe, that
goes a great way. But there comes my
carriage now, so we must defer our discus-
sion until I bring Carry to Elderton."
Mrs. Porrest made no remark on this.
She bade her old friend good bye with
politeness, but without cordiality; and
after receiving the last finished bow and
smile of the elegant Lilla Ashton, turned,
with a feeling of strange refreshment, to
the simple, "uncultivated nature" of The-
resa Berrington, who could not forbear a
sigh of relief as the carriage rolled from
the garden gate, and every trace of her
beloved Mrs. Porrest's school-fellow dis-
" Well, Theresa — and what do you think
THE STUDENT S WIPE. 85
of my fine visitor ? Was she not well
worthy of those beautiful strawberries
that, I am sure, you rose an hour earlier
than usual to pick ?"
Mrs. Porrest said this with a smile that
was intended to dissipate the unwonted
gravity of her favourite ; but some seconds
elapsed before the latter raised her thought-
ful little face and replied —
" I never knew till now the meaning of
an antipathy — at least, of taking an anti-
pathy to a person at first sight. Oh ! my
dearest Mrs. Porrest, you will think me
very unamiable ; but I really do hope I
may never see that lady again. There
was something quite oppressive, almost ter-
rifying, in the way she looked at me."
" She always was, and always will be,
incomprehensible to me," Mrs. Forrest
answered : '' but we are not going to talk,
or think either, about her at present.
What has my little friend been doing with
herself since we last met ?"
" Oh, we have been so busy — mamma
86 THE student's wife.
and I" — said Theresa, resuming her usual
eheerfuhiess. " Did I not tell you, some
time ago, that papa intended taking a few
pupils, or, at least, young men, to read
with him ? Well, he has just made ar-
rangements for receiving one who, I
believe, is to remain with us several
months. His relatives reside in London,
and he mil come to Elderton at the end
of this week."
" And are you pleased, my dear, at the
thoughts of this addition to your family
circle ?" asked Mrs. Porrest, contemplating
with some anxiety the fair, innocent face
that was looking up into her o^vn.
" I think I must own that I am," was
Theresa's ingenuous reply; "for although
I am perfectly happy at home, it is
natural, you know, to wish for a little
variety sometimes ; and should our new
inmate be an agreeable person, it will cer-
tainly add to our enjoyment — ^to yours,
too, I hope, dear Mrs. Porrest, for we
must all cling closely together and form a
united, cheerful, and happy little band."
THE student's WIFE. 87
The widow sighed deeply, while she con-
tinued looking earnestly at her young
"What makes you sigh?" asked the
latter ; '' you will not surely shun all inno-
cent amusements for ever ; for my sake
you will occasionally come amongst us ?"
" I was not thinking of myself then,
Theresa," said Mrs. Porrest, very seriously.
''Your words, my child, occasioned the
sigh that trouhled you. Dear Theresa,
why cannot you he contented with perfect
happiness — why should you desire anything
Theresa blushed a little and looked dowTL
upon the carpet. Presently she said — ■
"I do not exactly desire anything more
than I possess; but if it comes without
effort of my own, you cannot blame me for
" I do not blame you, Theresa ; I only
regret that you should be conscious of a
want in the midst of so much happiness.
Eve was perfectly happy in Paradise ; but
88 THE student's wipe.
in striying after something more — some-
tiling as yet unknown — she lost her bright
inheritance of bliss, and was doomed
thenceforth to wander in a cold, ungenial,
and sin-defiled world."
" Dearest Mrs. Porrest, you are certainly
taking a strangely exaggerated view of my
present feeling. The forbidden fruit must
have been infinitely more important than
a new acquaintance, or companion even.
There is nothing sinful, at least, in wishing
for the latter, and it was sin that banished
our first parents from Paradise."
" Yes, dear child, and heaven forbid that
any act of yours should ever drive you
from the paradise of a happy home. Oh
Theresa, beware of looking beyond the
present — of indulging in visionary hopes,
whose fulfilment is dependent on any
created being. Keep your own heart pure
and free, hold constant communion with
your Maker, and be thankful for the pre-
sent peaceful lot a merciful Providence has
assigned you. Now come with me into the
THE student's WIFE. 89
garden, my dear, and let the flowers and
the birds preach T^isdom and contentment
to both of us."
After a long day of quiet, rational enjoy-
ment, Theresa prepared to hid her kind
friend good-bye ; and it was then that
Mrs. Forrest said to her —
'* I, too, have some news to communi-
cate to you, Theresa; I, too, have the
prospect of a new inmate, who T^ill, pro-
bably, form an agreeable addition to the
limited society of our tillage. Xow, see if
you can guess who the solitary old woman
is likely to entertain ?"
Theresa was all astonishment and curi-
osity. She thought Mrs. Porrest had no
living relatives, that she preferred soli-
tude ; and that she was the last person in
the world to have any sudden caprices.
At length an idea occurred to her, and she
said, eagerly —
'' Oh ! surely it cannot be that Mrs.
Ashton ? She is so very, very different
90 THE student's WIFE.
" No, Theresa ; but it is Mrs. Ashton's
daughter, a young lady of whom I never
heard till yesterday ; and whose entertain-
ment I intend trusting, in a great mea-
sure, to my amiable little friend beside
me. Now, I have given you a subject
that may divide your thoughts with your
own future guest; so good night, dear
child, and do not forget all that is ex-
pected of you."
"But your news is charming," replied
Theresa, with much animation. "Our
numbers are indeed increasing rapidly,
and a young lady was just what we
wanted. I wonder how old she is, and
what she is like. Do you know her
christian name, dear Mrs. Porrest?"
" Yes, it is ' Caroline ;' and, by the
bye, you have not yet told me the name
of your father's new pupil; and I'll
answer for it you have it at your tongue's
" It is Singleton — Lawrence Singleton,"
was the smiling reply. " But there is
THE student's WIFE. 91
papa waiting for me at the gate, so good
bye, dearest Mrs. Forrest. I shall see
you again very soon."
Mrs. Forrest did not attempt to stop
her young friend to ask for any explana-
tions. Thought is very rapid, and long
before Theresa had taken her father's
arm, and begun her homeward walk, the
friendless widow had unravelled Mrs.
Ashton's scheme, and accorded to her
old schoolfellow's manoeuvering the exact
amount of admiration it merited.
EoTJR days later, the two following letters
arrived at Theresa Cottage. One was
from Mrs. Ashton, and ran thus : —
" My dearest friend, —
*^I have only a single spare
moment in which to tell you that I find
it quite impossible to bring Carry to
Elderton myself, and that, therefore, she
will travel as far as Oxendean, under
the charge of a respectable person, who
happens to be going to that place, and
from thence, find her way alone to your
little rural, but most charming retreat.
" I have desired Mrs. Lumley to write
to you with full particulars, and I have
no doubt that you and my daughter will
get on admirably together. I shall en-
THE student's WIFE. 93
deavour to snatch another moment before
I embark, to indnlge in a little epistolary
chat with you, and, eii attendant,
" Believe me ahvays,
" Your sincere friend and well wisher,
"• LiLLA ASHTON.
" P.S. — I fancy Carry will make her
appearance the beginning of the coming
The other letter was from Mrs. Lumley,
and these were its contents : —
"• Eairfield House,
" Madam, —
" I am requested by Mrs.
Ashton to forward to you my candid
opinion of the character, disposition, and
conduct of my late pupil. Miss Caroline
Ashton ; and I can do this with the most
heartfelt pleasure, inasmuch as my im.-
94 THE student's wife.
pression of the young lady is a decidedly
favourable one, and one founded on a ten
years' intimate acquaintance.
" I should mention, in the first place, that
Miss Ashton possesses a very extraordi-
nary development of the organ of ' order.'
This, combined vnth a natural delicacy of
taste and refinement of feeling, produces
a most harmonious effect, which may be
seen shining through her whole character
and conduct. Next to order, I am of opi-
nion that the organ of 'concentrativeness'
is the most largely developed ; and this
shows itself chiefly in a very becoming
contempt for the trivialities of life, and a
constant desire, on Miss Ashton' s part, to
expend her really remarkable energies on
some one distinct and worthy object.
* Imagination,' ' wonder,' ' self-esteem,' and
* love of approbation,' may, I believe, be
ranked as next in succession. * Veneration'
and ' benevolence' are both moderately de-
veloped ; as, also, the organs of ' form,'
' harmony,' &c., Slq*
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 95
'' 'My Toung friend has not, I rejoice to
say, neglected the advantages bestowed
on her by a lengthened sojourn under my
roof, of cultivating, to a very fair extent,
the various talents with which nature has
gifted her; and I flatter myself that,
wheresoever placed, my esteemed pupil
will be found a charming companion, a
consistent friend, and, in all respects, a
valuable member of society.
" I have the honour to remain,
'^ Your obedient servant,
" Lucy Priscilla Lumley."
Mrs. Forrest laid aside both these letters
with a very quiet smile, which was soon
exchanged for a sigh, as she summoned
the half-bewildered Susan to another con-
sultation respecting Miss Ashton's rooms,
and issued yet more peremptory orders
than she had hitherto given for the careful
arrangement of every article of fui*niture,
96 THE STUDENT'S WIFE.
and the addition of various elegant kniek
knacks, which had been put away and
almost forgotten since Mr. Porrest's death.
In the evening came Theresa, and, in
answer to her numberless and amusing
conjectures as to what Caroline Ashton
would be like, her half-wearied friend put
the schoolmistress's letter into her hands,
saying, as she did so, — "Now read that,
my dear, and then draw me a portrait of
my future guest."
Theresa was some little time in getting
through Mrs. Lumley's letter; and when
this feat was accomplished, she looked
up with a half-bewildered, half-reflective
smile, and said, slowly —
" I am very much afraid my rejoicing
on Miss Ashton's account has been rather
premature. Don't you fancy, from this
singularly expressed description of her,
that she will be somewhat stiff and unap-
" I can fancy nothing, my dear," replied
Mrs. Eorrest ; " and I want your imagina-
tion to supply the deficiencies of mine,
since we have no one at hand to translate
Mrs. Liimley's letter into plain, everyday
English. Come, Theresa, let me have a
fair, impartial portrait of Miss Caroline
" Just as she appears to me ?"
''Of coiu'se. I am fully prepared for
Theresa glanced again over the letter
she had recently read ; and then, looking
up smilingly at her companion, who
appeared billing to be amused by her
merry little fiiend, began her descriptive
portrait : —
" In person, she is tall and straight —
so straight, I feel persuaded, that she will
scarcely be able to bend low enou2:h to see
an insicrnificant little beino? like myself.
Her features are fine, but inclining to
sharpness, particularly the eyes, which
detect every imperfection at a first glance.
She has a low, measured voice, and talks
of arts and sciences as we poor, common-
VOL. I. F
98 THE student's wife.
place mortals talk of flowers and country
gossip. Pinally, dear Mrs. Eorrest, she
dresses with an admirable taste and neat-
ness ; and is always ready to be looked at
and admired from eight in the morning till
twelve at night."
"A very pretty picture, Theresa; but
it would still bear more filling up. I
will take it, however, just as it is, for the
present, and perhaps, in examining it
often, I shall in some measure prepare
myself for the original. But now, my
dear, tell me about your Mr. Singleton,
for I heard this morning, through Susan,
that he had arrived."
'' But I have not yet seen him."
"Indeed! where have you been, then,
aU day ?"
*'At home; but papa and his pupil
rode over to Oxendean, and did not come
back to dinner. Mamma saw him for a
few minutes, and she says he is very plain
and very silent."
" So much the better," was Mrs. Tor-
THE student's WIFE. 99
rest's observation; and Theresa, though,
she looked up suddenly, did not ask why
her friend thought so, or make any further
remarks on the subject.
After tea they walked about the garden,
spoke a little more of Miss Asliton, and a
little more of Mr. Singleton; then The-
resa, fancying a storm was coming on,
went to fetch her bonnet, and declared she
must not stay a moment longer."
" Well, go, my dear child, if it must be
so," said Mrs. Eorrest, sadly ; " but I
confess I am unwilling to part with you
to-night, Theresa. Henceforth om' little
quiet evenings will entirely change their
character ; and if you come to me at all,
it will not be as now — to enliven the soli-
tary hours of a poor nervous recluse — ^but
to learn worldly wisdom from one whose
arrival, I franldy own, I look forward to
with ever-increasing dread."
Theresa took her companion's hand and
kissed it fondly, while she answered,
100 THE student's WIEE.
" Oh ! my dear Mrs. Eorrest, after all
your goodness, how can you suppose, for
one instant, that any society could be so
precious to me as your own ?"
An affectionate, yet very mournful
smile was the only reply to this ; and for
a few minutes they walked side by side in
silence, admiring the effect of the rich sun-
set upon the gothic windows of the cottage,
and on the closing flowers, and on the
leaves of a beautiful silver birch that had
been left standing, with a few other grace-
ful trees, at the entrance of the little
"Is it not lovely?" said Theresa at
length, as she stooped to gather an even-
ing primrose, whose delicious perfume had
long been tempting her to the theft.
'^ Surely there is no place like the country,
and no hour in all the day so sweet as
"It must possess a magic, indeed, to
cause a little silly gM, such as Theresa
Berrington, to sentimentalize in this man-
ner," exclaimed a voice which bore no
resemblance to that of Mrs. Forrest ; and
starting up hastily, Theresa saw — standing
behind her — her father and a vouns? man,
who she, of course, knew instantly must
be Mr. Singleton.
'' Come," said the former, cheerfully,
and bending to kiss his daughter's crim-
son cheek, " I am quite sure Mrs. Forrest
must haye had enousrh of you by this time ;
and ' mamma' wants you to take her place
at the supper table, as she has gone to bed
with a headache. This gentleman, as you
will haye surmised, is our new guest and
friend, Mr. Singleton: Singleton" — (tui'n-
ing to the silent and abstracted-looking
figure at his side) — "this is my little
girl, and her name is Theresa. Now, I
appeal to Mrs. Forrest to applaud my
simple and certainly novel form of intro-
Mrs. Forrest made a suitable reply;
and then tmniing to the yoimg man,
whose silence she attributed to an excess
102 THE student's WIFE.
of timidity, said, in her kind, soft tones,
"You do not resemble your mother,
Mr. Singleton. She was an old school-
fellow of mine."
The stranger raised his head abruptly,
pushed back a quantity of long, but not
waving, hair from his forehead, and re-
plied, somewhat absently —
"Was it so, indeed!" Then looking
round eagerly on the fair, tranquil scene,
his dark and rather deep- set eyes lighted
up with wonderful emotion, and, drawing
in his breath, he said, in quite an under
tone, and as if altogether unconscious of
the presence of strangers —
" This is, indeed, a beauty that may be
felt — this is a spot in which the most
restless might find repose."
" It is, certainly, uncommonly pretty,"
replied the cheerful rector, in his plain,
unsentimental manner; and I have no
doubt, if you contrive to make yourself
very agreeable, our fair and charming
neighbour will let you come and take a
THE student's WIFE. 103
peep at her little paradise again. Eut it's
getting late now, young people; and in
spite of yonder glomng sunset, I suspect
we shall have a storm by and bye. Come,
make your adieux, Theresa, and let us be
The latter immediately obeyed ; but be-
fore the party could reach the garden gate
a few thunder drops had fallen, and Mrs.
Eorrest wanted them to turn back and
remain in the cottage till it was over.
"No, no!" said the rector, "there is
no occasion for that. I have got my
umbrella ; and, if you can lend us another,
we shall do remarkably well. Here, Sin-
gleton" — as, on a summons from Mrs.
Porrest, Susan brought one out — " this
will shelter you and my little girl ; so now,
once more, we vnM march forN^ard."
Mrs. Porrest stood long enough at the
gate to perceive that Dr. Berrington's
pupil held the umbrella very awkwardly,
and neglected to offer his arm to the
young lady who had been placed under his
104 THE student's WIFE.
charge. But as the rain drove her into the
house before the pedestrians had reached
the bottom of the lane, she trusted he would
behave more rationally as they proceeded
on their way.
The next morning, however, all doubts
on the subject were put to flight by the
following note from Theresa, which was
concealed amongst a basket of fruit she
sent over, at an early hour, to her friend.
" Dear Mrs. Porrest, —
"I hope, from my very heart,
your guest will prove more agreeable and
less unlike a sane human being than oiir's.
He is a perfect bear. Only think of his
never offering me his arm last night, and
letting me get quite wet through. Then,
at supper time, filling my plate of cherry
tart with salt ; and, when I laughed
heartily at this — as, of course, I could not
help doing — laying down his own knife and
fork, and staring at me as if I were a frac-
tion of a puppet show, or anything else
THE student's WIFE. 105
that he was quite privileged to look at,
while it was his sovereign pleasure to do so.
He is wonderfully plain, too ; is he not ?
But tliis would he notliing, if he were less
of a savage. I do hope papa will he more
fortunate with the next he gets.
*' In haste,
" Ever your own,
The first two clays of the following week
passed over and brought no news of Caro-
Mrs. Porrest was in a state of distressing
nervousness and excitement : she wished
from her very heart that she had never un-
dertaken such a charge at all, railed at her
own weakness, and generally ended by
folding her trembling hands, and wonder-
ing what in nature she should do with the
young lady, when she was actually beneath
her roof. Theresa Berrington's imaginary
portrait had become the bugbear of her
imagination; and, even in her dreams,
the gentle widow saw the tall, straight,
unbending figure ever at her side; and
beheld eyes of cold but piercing brilliancy
fixed upon her, mth an expression that
THE student's WIFE. 107
said always — " Amuse me — exert yourself
— give up all thoughts of quiet and repose,
and invent amusement for the guest you
Once or t^^ce poor Mrs. Porrest remem-
bered, T^'ith a sensation of relief, the plan
of Caroline's mother, to bring about a
match between her dau^^hter and Law-
rence Singleton; but a moment's reflection
deprived her of this false consolation ; for
even could she have brought herself to
assist in any matrimonial projects, she
believed, from the very little she liad seen
or heard of the gentleman, that he was
about the last person in the world likely
to fall a \actim to female charms, or to be
deluded by female snares, whereof the
subjugation of his own heart was the
The third evening had now arrived ; and,
since Theresa's last visit, Mrs. Forrest had
seen none of the party from the rectorv^ ;
but she had resolved, if the former did not
make her appearance this evening, to call
108 THE student's WIFE.
on Mrs. Berrington, and beg her to spare
her daughter for a few days, till Caroline
Ashton's first arrival had been, in some
degree, got over.
This visit to the rectory was a great
undertaking for Mrs. Eorrest, who rarely
went beyond her own garden, except to
reach the village church on Sundays ;
nevertheless, as Theresa did not come, she
carried her project into execution, and
was welcomed with sincere cordiality by
the whole family.
They had not long sat down to tea, and
their guest was warmly pressed to join
them at this social meal. Indeed, the
hospitable rector would hear of no excuse ;
and a few minutes beheld the solitary
widow divested of her walking apparel,
and bearing a part in the animated and
cheerful conversation that nearly always
enlivened the rectory tea table, whether
few or many surrounded it.
In the present case, the rector and his
wife were the chief talkers ; Mrs. Porrest
THE student's WIFE. 109
generally preferring the oftimes arduous
part of listener ; and Theresa, being com-
pletely engrossed with her occupation of
cutting bread and butter, of which Law-
rence Singleton — who never opened his lips
to anybody — appeared to be consuming a
very immoderate portion.
He sat with his back to the windoAv, his
rather shaggy head supported on one arm,
his figure bent most ungracefully over the
table, and his right hand employed inces-
santly in conveying to his mouth the deli-
cate slices of bread and butter, which The-
resa, with admu^able patience, continued
to lay, one after another, on his plate.
" Come, Tessie, my dear," said lier
father at length, as a pause in the con-
versation ensued, " get your ovra tea now ;
and when our friend Singleton wants any
more bread, he can help himself."
" Oh ! I beg yom* pardon," exclaimed
the yoimg man, rousing himself with an
apparent effort, and pushing his plate
away. " I had quite forgotten that I was
110 THE student's WIFE.
troubling Miss Berrington. Pray, let me
help myself for the future."
Theresa looked at Mrs. Porrest, blushed
a little, and then sat down just opposite to
Mr. Singleton, and where a few soft rays
of the rapidly sinking sun fell through the
quaintly latticed window upon her chest-
nut hair and changed its hue to gold. In
the room hung an old, exquisite painting
of the Madonna, which the rector's fair
young daughter had often been said to
resemble ; but never, perhaps, had Theresa
looked so like it as at this moment, with
her pure eyes veiled by their long, droop-
ing lashes, and the glory of the evening
sunbeam resting on her youthful and
" Surely," thought Mrs. Porrest, as,
with warm admiration, she contemplated
her favourite, " no man can see, unmoved,
such beauty and such innocence as that !"
And she glanced stealthily at Lawrence
Singleton, to judge how he was affected
THE student's WIPE. Ill
No change in liis attitude, no apparent
consciousness that there was anything in
the apartment worthy of recalling him
from the land of visions, into which he had
A few days ago and there was nothing
Mrs. Porrest so much desbed as that the
rector's pupil should think nothing of her
dear Theresa — should leave her simple,
unpolluted heart as free from dreams of
vanity and love as it had been before he
Now she positively felt quite angry and
indignant with this same pupil, because he
failed to appreciate that marvellous loveli-
ness which none, except the proud Lilla
Ashton, had hitherto disputed.
Urged by this rather inconsistent feel-
ing, the widow exclaimed, abruptly — '' Are
you anything of an artist, Mr. Singleton ?
Your mother, I remember, had quite a
remarkable talent for drawing."
"I can appreciate, but I cannot exe-
cute," he replied, with greater promptitude
112 THE student's WIFE.
"What do you think, then, of that
Madonna," continued his questioner, de-
termined to find out, if possible, of what
materials this singular being was com-
"Beautiful, very beautiful," he an-
swered, raising his eyes to the exquisite
painting, and contemplating it earnestly
for a few minutes; then, following Mrs.
Porrest's glance towards Theresa, he
started and smiled quietly to himself,
repeating, in a lower and more thoughtful
tone — " A perfect masterpiece, — worthy of
the Inimitable Artist."
" Ah ! we are not quite sure who painted
it," said the unconscious rector, still gazing
with much satisfaction at his rare picture.
And when Mrs. Porrest tiu^ned to the
young man to see whether he intended to
explain his last observation, he had re-
sumed his old attitude, and was once more
wholly unmindful of all that was passing
As soon as the tea equipage had been
THE STrDENT's WIFE. 113
removed, Mrs. Forrest hastened to prefer
her request concerning Theresa ; and, after
some hesitation on the mother's part, it
was conceded that she should go to the
cottage the following morning, which
would be Thursday, and remain until the
" I cannot spare her for a longer period,"
said Mrs. Berrington, taking her daughter's
hand and pressing it affectionately, while
she gazed with earnest fondness at the
sweet, happy face, raised so confidingly to
her own. '' Tessie and I have never been
parted for a single day, at present, and to
none but yourself, Mrs. Eorrest, would I
confide my little ghl even now."
The T^idow expressed her appreciation
of the favour to be conferred on her, and
then rose to say good bye, as it was already
much later than she was in the habit of
" But we are not quite such goths, my
dearest lady," exclaimed the rector, gal-
lantly, "as to suffer you to walk home
114 THE student's WIFE.
unprotected. I would, myself, entreat the
honour of becoming your escort, were I
not certain that Mr. Singleton would ever
after owe me a grudge for wresting such a
privilege from him ; and I am ready to
admit that in these delicate cases, youth
ought to take the precedence of age."
At the mention of his name, Lawrence
Singleton had looked up quickly ; and, as
soon as he comprehended what was re-
quired of him, he left his seat without a
word, and went in search of his hat and
Mrs. Porrest's first impulse was to
refuse this involuntary attendance ; but a
moment's reflection decided her on not
doing so ; and, after a cordial good night
to the rector's family, she set forth with
her young protector, hoping, during their
tete-a-tete walk, to discover something
more of his principles and opinions than
he appeared disposed to reveal, gratuitously,
to any of his new acquaintances.
But the widow was such an exceedingly
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 115
diffident and timid person herself, that she
felt terrihly puzzled in what way to hegin
the task of drawing out her silent com-
panion ; and it is more than prohahle that,
in spite of her resolution, they would have
reached Theresa Cottage without exchang-
ing a syllable, had not the sudden appear-
ance of the moon, behind a group of dark
pine trees, arrested either the artist eye,
or the poet heart of Lawrence Smgleton,
and caused him to exclaim — as he stopped
abruptly, and stood, with folded arms,
gazing on the scene —
" I like that — it does me good. It is
admirable ; full of beauty and harmony."
"You appear to be an enthusiastic
admirer of natm'e," said Mrs. Porrest,
delighted with this favourable opening.
'' Have you lived much in the country ?"
" Never before," he replied, walking on
slowly, but with his head still tm-ned in
the direction of the dark trees, on which
the moon was shining.
''Where, then, did yom^ family reside
previous to — to — ." Mrs. Porrest paused.
116 THE student's WIFE.
" To our change of fortune ?" he said,
promptly. " Oh ! we lived always in Lon-
don, in a dingy, sunless street, where my
mother toiled at household drudgery till
her cheek grew white and thin, and my
father came home from his ill-paid lahours,
looking each day more worn and heart-sick
than the last."
"And you — what were your pursuits
during this time ?" asked Mrs. Porrest,
becoming greatly interested.
" I worked too — worked at law, which
I hated with no common hatred ; hut my
father was a lawyer, and he had no interest
or money to educate me for any other pro-
'' How deeply you must all have rejoiced
at the sudden change ! Was not your mo-
ther powerfully affected when the news
Lawrence seemed to shudder. " Ah ! do
not ask me to recall that hour," he said
quickly. " The scenes whereof human
emotions form the chief elements, should
THE student's WIFE. 117
be witnessed by the Almighty Artist alone.
Eut if YOU care to hear, I ^vill tell you
what I did when the first overpowering
emotion had subsided."
" Do," replied Mrs. Eorrest, in a low
voice, full of sympathy.
"I had heard the news," he continued,
" as we sometimes hear things in our
dreams — ^dth a stransre consciousness of
their reality, and yet a mysterious per-
suasion that we must awake to find them
a delusion. But the dull details of the
case which mv father, as a lawver, entered
upon, brought, by degrees, full con^-iction
to my mind ; and then I went forth, A\ith
a beating heart, from our close and nar-
row street, to some green fresh fields I
knew of, where I thought I might be
alone. But it was a holiday; and hun-
dreds of gaily dressed people, all laughing
and talking loudly, were there before me ;
and I felt that bm-ning tMrst for sohtude,
which demands immediate relief at the
risk of life or reason. So, I wandered on
118 THE student's WIFE.
and on, through lanes and meadows, and
down scarcely trodden roads, till I came
after hours of fatigue, to a thick, lonely
wood, such as I had often and often dreamt
of being in. Here I stayed my progress ;
and, choosing a high, shadowy tree, I
threw myself beneath it, and lay, during
the long, quiet hom^s of that summer after-
noon, gazing up at the blue sky and float-
ing clouds, and listening to the wild carol
of the birds that rang, like strange, sweet
music, in the fragrant air around me. I
do not know whether I was happy. I
believe happiness must be something more
tangible and real; but, I know that I
enjoyed intensely, and for the first time
since mental sensation had replaced the
animal pleasures and impressions of early
childhood. It was not the acquisition of
wealth or station that I prized — not the
prospect of emerging from the obscurity
that had hitherto enshrouded me ; — it was
liberty — liberty of thought and action —
liberty to choose my own pursuits, my
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 119
owTi recreations — liberty to throw aside for
ever the studies my very soul abhorred —
liberty to lie long hours, as I was lying
then, listening to nature's melodies, and
gazing up at God's bright and glorious
heavens, whose mysteries I might now
dream of at my will."
Here Lawrence Singleton paused, for
they were near IMrs. Forrest's gate; but
the latter, whose interest in this strange
young man had been thoroughly awakened,
said, eagerly —
" And since then ? A^Hiat has occurred
since then, Mr. Singleton ?
His momentary enthusiasm was quite
gone; the very sound of liis voice was
changed ; and he replied, somewhat
" Oh ! that is nearly a year ago ; and
my mother could not bear me to leave her
diuing the period of her first initiation
into fasliionable life." Tliis was said with
a tincture of satire, the attentive listener
fancied. '' But I still hate London,
120 THE student's WIFE.
changed as its aspect has become to us ;
and, my father joining his persuasions to
mine, permission was at length granted
for me to come and study in the country."
They stood, now, at the gate ; but Mrs.
Porrest had yet one more question to ask.
" You know Mrs. Ashton," she said,
hurriedly, " the mother of the young lady
I am expecting ? "Wliat do you think of
" She appeared to me to be the same as
the other fine lady friends I saw at my
mother's house. I should not recognize
her from any of the rest, if they were al
brought this minute before me."
" Did she never talk to you of Caroline,
her daughter ?"
" If she did, I have forgotten it. But
it is certain that I do forget many things
lately. They tell me, at home, that I am
always dreaming ; and I think myself,
sometimes — paradoxical as it appears —
that I shall not awake entirely till I fall
asleep for ever."
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 121
"You must come and see me, Mr. Sin-
gleton," said Mrs. Forrest, with much
more warmth of manner than she was in
the hahit of testifying to any save Theresa.
'^ Eor your own, now, as well as for your
mother's sake, I shall always welcome you
" Thank you," replied the young man,
with a hrusquerie rather inconsistent T\'ith
the friendly confidences he had been
making. And just touching the hand that
his companion frankly extended to him,
he bowed with an absent air, and departed.
Mrs. Forrest had not time at present to
meditate on what had passed between her-
self and her old schoolfellow's son; for, in
answer to her quiet ring at the garden
bell, Susan rushed breathlessly down the
path, exclaiming, — " Oh, ma'am. Miss
Ashton has arrived !"
VOL. I. G
If it had been — " Oh ! ma'am, your death
warrant is in the house," Mrs. Porrest
could scarcely have exhibited a greater
degree of agitation, or felt more reluctance
to advance a step beyond the exact spot
where she had received the news. All her
morbid dread of this formidable young
lady returned suddenly with overwhelm-
ing power, and sat like a dreary incubus
upon her shrinking heart. Susan waited
a few seconds in respectful silence for her
mistress to speak; but finding that the
latter showed no disposition to do so, the
girl, nothing loth to play the enviable part
of news -bearer, continued, eagerly —
*' She has been here these two hours,
ma'am. A post chaise brought her, quite
alone, too, from Oxendean. I have done
THE STUDENT S WIEE. 123
mv best to make the voimg lady comfort-
able ; but she seems rather lonesome like,
and as if she did not care much for talkbio^.
You T^-ill find her, now, ma'am, in the
front parlour ; but as long as it was light
she walked about the garden, and looked
at the flowers, I thought, as if she loved
them almost as much as Miss Theresa and
" Very well," Susan, replied her mistress
at length, moving slowly up the path ; ^' I
must sro to Miss Ashton at once. Of
course, you offered her some refreshment
on her arrival ?"
" O yes, ma'am ; and I persuaded her to
take a cup of tea, poor thing ! for she
seemed quite worn out ; and I have got a
nice little chicken ready for supper — ^^y-
haps Miss Ashton may fancy a bit, before
she goes to bed."
"You have done quite right, Susan.
Now, bring in the candles, and then see
about supper immediately.,'
As Mrs. Forrest gave this order she
124 THE student's WIEE.
opened the parlour door, and walked, with
anything but a firm step, into the room.
Caroline Ashton was sitting in a low,
easy chair by the window, through which
the moon shone brightly, and revealed,
with perfect distinctness, the outKnes of
her form and face ; but Mrs. Porrest had
only time to take a very casual glance ere
the young lady rose from her seat, and
advancing, with extended hand, said, in a
low and singularly quiet tone —
" Mrs. Porrest, I presume ?"
The widow pressed, with sincere warmth,
the offered hand of her guest, while she
murmured a few words of courteous wel-
come, and assurances of her desire to ren-
der Miss Ashton' s new abode in every way
agreeable to her.
"My mother did not exaggerate its
beauties, at any rate," Caroline said, in
reply to this; and then she remained
silent, as if aware that it was the part of
her hostess to lead the conversation, or
ignorant of the subjects that would be
most acceptable to her companion.
THE student's WIFE. 125
Por the moment, Mrs. Porrest was re-
lieved by the entrance of Susan ; and by
the time they were asrain alone — with the
candles on the table — she had remembered
that it was her duty to inquire concerning
Miss Ashton's journey and her mother's
intended voyage, and that these subjects
would, probably, occupy them until supper
was brought in.
Her expectations were not disappointed ;
for although Caroline did not aj)pear to be
a great talker, she answered every question
Avith a cheerful readiness that evinced a
wish to promote the conversation, as well
as a desire to render herself agreeable to
the lady under whose roof she had come to
But Mrs. Forrest, accustomed to the
caressing and endearing manners of The-
resa Berrington, could not help thinking
her guest exceedingly cold and precise ;
and although her outward aspect was de-
cidedly an improvement on Theresa's por-
trait, there was something in her way of
126 THE student's wife.
speaking, in her faultless style of dress —
simple though it was — and in the appar-
ent absence of all impulsive feeling, that
seemed to tally most unpleasantly with
that fancy sketch which, during the last
few days, had haunted poor Mrs. Porrest
Prejudices are bad things at all times ;
and, when they take possession of a mind,
weakened by solitude and mental suffering,
they are particularly tenacious of their
dominion, and generally require a very
long notice ere they give up their cherished
Caroline Ashton little dreamt of the
unfavourable opinion that had been con-
ceived of her, or of the many heartaches
her anticipated arrival had occasioned, or
it is probable that even that admirable
self-possession and equanimity which Mrs.
Eorrest, but for her irrational prejudices,
must have admired, would have melted
into air long before that first evening
was over, and caused the almost desolate
THE STrDENT'S WIFE. 127
girl to hide her pale face and weep, again,
as bitter tears as she had shed on parting
with the dear friends who had, hitherto,
been life, and hope, and sunshine to her.
Eut, happily, the veil was on ; and beneath
it, Caroline only saw a gentle kindness,
less cordial, perhaps, than she had ex-
pected, and a most attentive courtesy,
with which she could find no fault.
The tempting supper— which Susan had
so thoughtfully prepared — was eaten ^ith
little appetite by eitlier of the ladies ; and,
at its conclusion, Mrs. Forrest su^^o^ested
that her young guest must be fatigued,
and probably ready to go to bed. To this
Caroline made no objection ; and, shaking
hands in a quiet, friendly manner, they
parted for the night.
The \^idow only fell asleep towards
morning; and when she awoke, it was
some time past her usual hour for rising ;
and she had a thousand fears immediately
about Miss Ashton's comforts, and made
herself positively wretched at the idea that
128 THE student's wife.
she mighi have waited for her breakfast,
or been at a loss for amusement, or walked
on the damp grass in the garden, or done
any other possible or impossible thing,
which it was her duty, as a hostess, to
" La, ma'am," said Susan, as her mis-
tress, in a rapid manner, expressed some
of these apprehensions to her, "you'll be
worrying yourself into a fever, if you go
on in this way. Miss Ashton is old
enough — and I am sure she looks wise
enough — to take care of herself. When I
went to ask her if she would have some
hot water about seven o'clock, she was
reading very comfortably in bed, and de-
sired me to let her know when you began
to dress. I thought she looked pale, and
a little bit downhearted, poor thing ! So,
I took her up a cup of tea, and she thanked
me as though I'd put a crown upon her
head. To my thinking, she's a very like-
able young lady."
Mrs. Eorrest did not reply to this ; but
THE STrDENT's WIFE. 129
she made all possible haste to dress herself,
and then, having heard her guest go down
before her, descended to the breakfast
parlour, and found Caroline with a book in
her hand, but looking decidedly ill, and
out of spirits.
" I am afraid you have not slept well,
my dear," said the T\'idow, with very
genuine anxiety ; " what a pity I did not
think of sending up your breakfast to you.
You have a bad headache, I am sure."
" Not very bad," said Caroline, trying
to smile cheerfully ; "I shall be better by
and bye. Yom* servant was kind enough
to bring me some tea, and that refreshed
me srreatlv. Can I be of anv use to vou
at the breakfast table, Mrs. Forrest r"
This offer Avas gratefully declined ; and,
as Caroline did not press it, the ^^idow
was about to take her usual place, when a
sharp ring at the bell was followed by the
abrupt entrance of Theresa Berrington,
laden, as usual, with fruit and flowers, and
her sweet face glowing with health and
happiness. g 3
130 THE student's wife>
" Dearest Mrs. Porrest, I am so glad to
come to you," she exclaimed, on opening
the door ; but pausing at once on seeing
Caroline, she blushed with her accustomed
shyness, and stood waiting for an intro-
This was soon got over ; and then, not
discovering anything very terrible in Miss
Ashton's appearance, the new comer re-
peated her expressions of delight in being
permitted to visit her dear Mrs. Porrest,
and playfully forced the latter from her
seat, and insisted on making breakfast.
Eor awhile the conversation was sus-
tained with considerable animation between
the widow and her little favourite — the
chief subject being Lawrence Singleton.
And, during this time, Caroline Ashton
employed herself in gazing wonderingly
at the lovely countenance of Theresa
Berrington, and marvelling whether it was
that rare fascination of form and face, or
some mysterious foreshadowing of the
future, that led her to feel, at once, such
THE student's WIFE. 131
a powerful and unaccountable interest in
the young stranger, whose very name she
had never heard till now.
Absorbed in her own reflections, she
had paid no attention to the subject under
discussion, and it was Mrs. Forrest who
roused her suddenly, by saying —
'' I believe the gentleman of whom we
are speaking is not altogether unkno^vn to
you. Miss Ashton; at least, you must
have heard frequently of him from your
"I did not catch the name," replied
Caroline, with immediate attention.
"Lawrence Singleton," said Theresa,
eagerly, longing to make a favourable im-
pression on Miss Ashton. '' He has just
come down from London to study the
classics with papa ; and you cannot fancy
what an oddity he is."
Theresa would have gone on, for good-
ness knows how long, T\ith her foolish
gossip, had she not been startled and
arrested by Caroline's sudden and remark-
132 THE student's wife.
able increase of colour, combined with an
expression of unmistakeable astonisliment
''Lawrence Singleton!" exclaimed the
latter, at length. " Do you mean the son
of Sir James Singleton, who has recently
succeeded to the baronetcy?"
"The same," replied Mrs. Porrest; and
then pitying, and, in some measure,
guessing at the cause of her guest's con-
fusion, she told Theresa that her services
were no longer required at the breakfast
table, and advised her to go and put away
her shawl and bonnet in the bedroom.
Caroline took prompt advantage of
being alone with her hostess to say, in
rather an agitated voice —
'' Mrs. Porrest, will you candidly answer
me one question, and forgive its apparent
want of delicacy ?"
" Certainly, my dear, if I can." (Mrs.
Porrest devoutly wished herself at the very
bottom of the sea, aud thought Caroline
more fo-rmidable than ever.)
THE student's wipe. 133
"Then, did you, diu^ing my mother's
visit to you, express a desire for a young
companion ; in short, did the proposal of
my coming here emanate from you /"
It was now the widow's turn to colour
painfully, and to struggle between her
strict conscientiousness and her acute
dread of wounding Caroline, and, probably,
of giving the lie to some representation of
Mrs. Ashton's. But Caroline, with burn-
ing cheek and tightly compressed lips, sat
patiently waiting for an answer; and in
the end her companion was obliged to
" My dear Miss Ashton, the inference to
be dra^^Ti from yoiu^ question is so very
obvious, that I am most reluctant to
acknowledge that I was not the originator
of the scheme which has given me the
pleasure of your society. But the affair
was so quickly arranged, that it is pos-
sible" — she dared not ^^j prohahle — "that
your mother may have forgotten how it
began. After all, it is of little conse-
134i THE student's wife.
quence, if, now you are here, I can suc-
ceed in making you comfortable."
" Mrs. Porrest," replied Caroline, with
slow and remarkable distinctness of utter-
ance, " you have, probably, been misled, as
well as myself; and, therefore, I think it
right to tell you, that my mother and
Lady Singleton — who is a well meaning,
but lamentably weak woman, guided en-
tirely by those about her, and by mamma
especially — that these two are desirous
of makins: a match between Lawrence
and myself. Perhaps, when you know
me better, you will understand how pecu-
liarly hateful all this sort of thing is to
me. At present, I can only assure you
that, so far from entering into their man-
oeuverings, I refused Lady Singleton's
pressing invitation to reside with her on
this account ; that I entreated mamma to
let me come into the country for the same
reason ; and, finally, that I have never seen
the young man ; and, if it can possibly be
avoided, I never will,'"
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 135
Poor, quiet, pea€e-loviiig, nervous !Mrs.
Forrest ! Here was an agreeable position
of affairs ! here was a delightful prospect
for the time to come ! Por a few seconds
after Caroline had ceased to speak, she sat
looking at her in quite an amusing per-
plexity, not knowing the least in the
world what she ought to say or what to
Miss Ashton appeared to comprehend
these feelings, for she held out her hand
suddenly toward her hostess, and resumed,
T\ith a most agreeable smile —
" But we need not make ourselves un-
happy because mamma and her friend
form extravagant and ridiculous plans. I
was only anxious to exonerate myself from
any suspicions you might have formed,
and to enlist you on my side. Now that
both these objects are accomplished, we
may dismiss the detestable subject for
'' Certainly, my dear;" said Mrs. Forrest,
with a sigh that would not be restrained.
136 THE student's wife.
" And now we may have Theresa in again,
"One moment, Mrs. Porrest. Did
mamma see Miss Berrington while she
'' Yes, for a few minutes."
• '' And what did she think of her ?"
" Not much, I fancy ; at least, I con-
sidered her admiration wonderfully cold :
but, then, I have, perhaps, too exalted
an opinion of Theresa's attractions."
" You cannot have. She is the loveliest
person I ever saw ; and mamma may find,
to her cost, that Elderton has a fairer
bride for the future owner of Burnham
Park, than the one she so presumptuously
destines for him. This Lawrence must
be less than mortal, if he can see that
beautiful young creature daily without
Mrs. Porrest was prevented making a
reply by the entrance of the "beautiful
young creature" in question; and soon
after the two girls went out into the
THE student's avife. 137
garden together, and left their gentle
hostess to her very uncomfortable medita-
tions concerning what she had just heard,
and her renewed regrets at having con-
sented to be made the dupe of the worldly
and ambitious Lilla Ashton.
At a later hour of the same day, Caroline's
headache being better, it was proposed that
Theresa should introduce her to one of the
many beautiful walks with which the neigh-
bourhood abounded, while Mrs. Porrest,
who was really quite unwell, from the
unusual excitement she had undergone,
endeavoured to get a little quiet sleep.
jPor this purpose she placed herself upon
the drawing-room sofa, drew down the
blinds, and closing her aching eyelids,
made a desperate effort to forget for a
season the many annoyances which beset
her path, and from which she could see no
present prospect of emancipation.
Alas ! poor Mrs. Porrest — her day of rest
had been brief indeed ; and if her bruised
heart had cherished hopes of building up
THE student's WIFE. 139
a tabernacle of peace in this vale of tears,
how bitterly must it have mourned the
defeat of these flattering anticipations !
how painfully it must have yearned for
that portion beside the still waters, which
seemed to flee farther and farther the more
earnestly it was pursued !
Peace — blessed, heavenly peace ! why
might it not be hers ? The blue skies, the
summer air, the very insects that crawled
lazily in the sunshine, or flew, with their
pleasant, humming sound, about the quiet
room — all these seemed full of peace, and
as if they mocked, in theh^ serene enjoy-
ment, the troubles of the wearied woman
who lay, in a half-dreaming state, ques-
tioning the mysterious allotments of Pro-
vidence, and wondering whether the earth
had no lonely spot where she might escape
from life's warfare, and prepare herself for
that better land vrhere true and everlasting
rest is to be foimd.
Mrs. Porrest fell asleep at last, and
dreamt that having taken refuge in a con-
140 THE student's WIFE.
vent from tlie excitements of the world,
slie had to settle the daily quarrels of the
whole sisterhood of nuns, and spend the
hours not thus employed in listening to
the bitter complaints of the lady abbess
against every member of the establishment,
or the severe denunciations of the father
confessor against the lady abbess herself.
Erom this pleasing vision the sleeper was
abruptly recalled by the entrance of Susan,
who, advancing to the sofa, said, in a loud,
cheerful voice, —
" It's near five o'clock, ma'am, and you
told me to rouse you at half-past four.
The young ladies are not come home yet,
but here's a letter for you, and if you'll
have a drop of tea, I've got it ready for
"Thank you, Susan, you may bring it
to me, for I feel scarcely awake even now.
Give me the letter, however, and open one
of the windows : this room appears insaf-
Whether the contents of the letter,
THE student's WIFE 141
which, on Susan's departure, Mrs. Forrest
opened and read, had the effect of cooling
the atmosphere, I am not prepared to say ;
but it certainly removed every trace of
drowsiness, and even made the startled
reader think it probable that she should
never sleep again. Thus it ran : —
" Eally castle,
*^ Count V Antrim, Ireland.
" My dearest Aunt, —
" You ^ill guess by the black edges
of my paper that sometliing is the matter ;
and so it is, for Old Mahon's off at last. I
don't mean to speak disrespectfully of the
old boy, though, perhaps, when I tell you
that he's only left me two hundred a year,
you would not wonder much if I did. The
will was opened last Thursday, and, to
the surprise of everybody, the bulk of the
property was found to be bequeathed to a
small-pox hospital in Dublin. What to do
with myself I am, of course, as ignorant as
142 THE student's wife.
the man in the moon. One friend advises
me to hang myself — another, to go into
the army — another, to try my luck at the
bar — another, to join some strolling players
— and two or three more suggest my re-
tiring to a country village, and living upon
my means 1 1 Now all the former plans are
at least possible, but this last, you knov/,
is not, and I'll give any of them leave to
duck me in the Shannon if they find me
attempting such a thing.
"At present I am staying with an old
chum of mine, who is a regular good
fellow, and when he's tired of me, I'm
going, for a week or two, to some more
friends, who won't take any refusal. But
after this, my best of aunts, I shall be a
desolate wanderer on the face of the earth ;
and if I transport myself and chattels to
your part of the globe, and beg permission
to become, for a brief space, a dweller
beneath your hospitable roof, I hope you
wont deem your unknown nephew very
presumptuous, or wish him at the bottom
of the blue ocean."
THE student's WIFE. 143
" Should you consent to receive me, I
shall probably find my way to Theresa
Cottage — what a pretty name ! — in about
a month or five weeks from the date of
of this, and I can then discuss with you,
my only surviving relative, the different
plans that have been suggested for my
future maintenance. As I am no scribe,
my good aunt, excuse this rambling effu-
sion, and remember the constitutional
idleness and thoughtlessness of
** Your affectionate, but unworthy nephew,
*' Philip Maranham."
" P.S. — You won't mind my two blood-
hounds — Tantalus and Charon — I know;
but as they are rather large, I mention
them here to prevent any surprise on their
appearance; and, also, that if you do not
possess such an article, you may have a
little kennel knocked up for them in the
garden, as they have been desperately
petted; and would take it ill, poor things,
IM THE student's WIFE.
if they did not find comfortable sleeping
quarters. In the day they run about the
house, like lambs ; and will, no doubt,
soon make themselves quite at home in
" Please, ma'am, here is your tea, and
I'm afraid it will be cold," said Susan, for
the fourth time, as she stood in respectful
amazement before her completely absorbed
and greatly agitated mistress. This time
her words were understood, for the letter
was finished ; and Mrs. Eorrest, looking
up with a sort of stony despair in her
meek eyes, replied, calmly —
" Put it down, Susan. I do not mind
its being cold."
" I hope you do not feel worse, ma'am ;
or that you have had no bad news," said
the girl, timidly; for the paleness of her
mistress's face alarmed her, and she was
unmlling to leave her alone.
" Oh, no ! it is nothing particular. I
cannot talk about it now," Mrs. Forrest
THE student's WIFE. 145
answered, immediately. ** The young ladies
will want their tea when they come in;
shall you have it ready, Susan ?"
" Quite ready, ma'am. I've just been
placing some of the flowers Miss Theresa
brought this morning in Miss Ashton's
rooms. Miss Theresa told me to do it, as
she had found out that the young lady
loved flowers. And, oh ! ma'am, it's just a
pleasure to go into those rooms now that
Miss Ashton has put everything in order.
You never saw such a palace of neatness
and elegance in your life — such lovely
books, and boxes, and china images, and
baskets of every shape ! Oh ! I do wish
you'd step up presently, and take a
peep ; it's like going into a fairy's room,
How admirably adapted for the friendly
visits of Tantalus and Charon, thought
the unfortunate aunt of Philip Maranham,
as she declined Susan's proposal of peeping
into Caroline's rooms, and walked through
the opened French window into the garden,
VOL. I. H
146 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
that the cool eyening breeze might afford
temporary relief from the oppressive sen-
sation her nephew's letter had brought
She had not walked many minutes,
before a ring at the gate announced the
return of her guests ; and Theresa, running
up to Mrs. Porrest the moment the gate
was unlocked, declared they had had a
most delightful walk, an assertion which
Caroline's quiet smile fully corroborated.
The latter, when she had expressed a hope
that Mrs. Forrest was better, retu^ed to
take off her walking dress ; and then The-
resa, strolling by the side of her more
than usually silent friend, with her bonnet
hanging carelessly on her arm, began an
animated and enthusiastic eulogy of Caro-
line Ashton, to which the widow listened
without comment or interruption of any
" She is really a darling," said the eager
speaker, "and no more like that abomi-
nable portrait I invented than Lawrence
THE student's WIPE. 147
Singleton is like papa. Oh ! I am sure
you will love her dearly Avhen vou know
her better, for she has just your tastes for
quiet and solitude" — (here Mrs. Forrest
groaned mentally) — '*and eyen dislikes
general society. As for men, she declares
it would be a positiye purgatory to her
were she obliged to see much of them, for
nearly the whole of her life has been
passed amongst friends of her o^yn sex, to
many of whom she appears much attached.
I haye heard all about her mother and Mr.
Singleton ; but in spite of Caroline's pre-
sent resolution of neyer seeing him, I
should not wonder if it ended in a loye
match — there is something so deliciously
romantic and out of the common way
"My dear Theresa," said Mrs. Eorrest,
finding that her little friend intended to
pause here, " you are talking sad nonsense
to-night. I hope you haye not been en-
tertaining Miss Ashton in a similar style,
or I should much fear that she has formed
148 THE student's wife.
a less exalted opinion of your wisdom than
yon have done of hers ! "
" Oh ! we have talked of nearly every
subject under the sun," replied Theresa,
with undiminished animation. '' Caroline
knows so many things that I have scarcely
heard of; and she is going to lend me
books, and to teach me flower-painting
from nature ; and we are to walk together
every day that mamma can spare me ; and,
in short, my dearest Mrs. Porrest, I am in
a state of enchantment, which may well
excuse the nonsense you say I have been
"Nonsense, indeed, you little goose!'
said Mrs. Porrest, actually beguiled, for
the moment, from the contemplation of
her own troubles by the fascination which
Theresa — in her gay, childlike moods —
always contrived to exercise over her.
" But there, you perceive, is Miss Ashton
at the window ; so let us go in to tea."
Nothing remarkable occurred during the
evening, except that Mrs. Torrest, instead
THE student's WIFE. 149
of having to amuse the formidable Caro-
line, was arbitrarily compelled to instal
herself on the sofa, and forbidden to utter
a single word. So she reposed in lux-
urious indolence, listening — between the
snatches of refreshing sleep which stole
upon her — to Miss Ashton's very clever
and amusing sketches of school life, and
Theresa's equally entertaining and very
naive observations thereon.
When Susan, at ten o'clock, brought in
the supper and the bedroom candles, Mrs.
Forrest was the first to exclaim —
" Dear me, is it so late ? I had no idea
the evening was half over !"
But in the morning all the vexations and
disquietudes of the preceding day returned
with even increased hitterness, and the
more Miss Ashton appeared to be recon-
ciled to her new home, the more unwilling
did her timid hostess feel to communicate
to her the threatened addition to their
household; and although no thought of
refusing to receive her beloved sister's
child had ever, for an instant, crossed the
widow's mind, the prospect of his coming
was not the less fraught with anxious and
sickening dread to her. If she had shrunk
from accepting the charge of Caroline
Ashton, a quiet, well-conducted, and care-
fully-educated young lady, how much more
did she shrink from becoming, in any way
whatever, the protectress of such an one
THE student's WIFE. 151
as she had pictm^ed Philip Maranham !
And yet what was to be done ?
In a few weeks her quiet dwelling would
be desecrated by the presence of this wild,
untameable spirit and his fierce favourites,
whose very names filled poor Mrs. Porrest
with a trembling and unconquerable fear.
As if to aggravate her distress, there
occurred, dm^ing the day, repeated in-
stances illustrative of Miss Ashton's pre-
ference for a quiet life, as well as of her
extreme fondness for order and regularity
in all things. Once or twice she gently
chided Theresa for leaving her working
materials scattered about the room; and
when the latter, laughingly, inquired
whether she did not think a little dis-
order graceful, Caroline replied, quite
" My dear Miss Berrington, I am sure
that in vour heart vou must feel as I do —
that life, without the most perfect order
and neatness — even in externals — would
lose half its charms."
152 THE student's wife.
" I am afraid," said Theresa, with genu-
ine humility, '' that I have much more
to learn than I suspected, and this keen
appreciation of external order amongst the
rest. Miss Ashton, you will he disgusted
with your pupil at the very outset."
"Par from that," Caroline hastened to
answer, with her pleasant, sensible smile ;
" but although I might succeed in teaching
you to practise order, the powerful appre-
ciation and love of it is, I imagine, a gift
of nature's own, and not always a de-
sirable one ; at least, I can imagine it the
cause of very great and constant annoy-
ance, if the possessor should be placed in
immediate relations with an individual
entirely destitute of it. I doubt, in my
own particular case, whether, with every
other source of enjoyment, I could be quite
happy with an habitually untidy and care-
"Then," observed Mrs. Porrest, with a
desperate resolve to know at once the
worst she had to expect — "then, I pre-
THE student's WIFE. 153
sume, my dear, you are not fond of
animals about a house ?"
"Decidedly not," said Caroline, ear-
nestly. " Cats are always in the way ; birds
are stupid, and make a terrible litter ; and
as for dogs, they are my detestation — the
fat, pampered, lazy, little animals."
" But these are only lap dogs. There
are some dogs really noble, admirable crea-
tures, full of intelligence and fidelity — an
example to human beings, an honour and
a glory to theu' ovra species."
This was Theresa's defence of the canine
race ; for she had the bad taste to be exces-
sively fond of them all, from the gigantic
Newfoimdland to the ciu4y little parlour
favourite, of which Caroline had spoken
with such contempt.
The latter smiled at her new friend's
enthusiasm, and replied, immediately — " I
quite agree with you in your admii*ation
of the faithfulness and the intellis^ence of
the better class of these animals; and,
in my condemnation, I only included the
15 i THE student's WIFE.
usual sort of household pets. Eut my ad-
miration of the larger, nobler tribe of
dogs is mingled with such an instinctive
terror, that I could never, I think, under
any cu'cumstances, become attached to
one, or bear it any length of time in the
same room with me."
Mrs. Porrest grew pale, and walked out
into the garden. She determined to ask
no more questions for that day.
But while the hostess of Theresa Cot-
tage was sick at heart, and incapable of
enjoying the beauties of that sweet summer
time, because of the morbid weakness that
past trials and recent solitude had gene-
rated in her mind, the young people
who shared her hospitality grew, hourly,
more charmed with each other, and more
contented with the destiny which had
already made them acquaintances, and
promised to make them friends.
To Theresa, this brief visit had been a
season of unmixed enjoyment; and she
had just consented, on the Saturday even-
THE student's WIFE. 155
ing, to Mrs. Forrest's proposal of sending
Susan to the rectory with a petition for
another two days' holiday, when a mes-
senger arrived with a note from Dr. Ber-
rington, which rendered the suggestion
Theresa read this communication first to
herself ; and then, glancing archly towards
Caroline, she said, with a smile untinctured
by a shadow of pique —
'' Pray, admire the gallantry of your
friend Mr. Singleton. I will read the note
to you, and you shall condole mth me on
my mortification. Listen —
" Little Tessie, —
" You must come home as soon
as you receive this ; for neither your
mother nor myself can do any longer
without you. Even our taciturn guest is
visibly pining away ; for he never eats a
mouthful of bread now you are not here
to cut it for him. But, lest your silly
156 THE student's wiee.
little heart should be uplifted at this in-
telligence, I must tell you, that I just now
asked him, four separate times, to walk
oyer and fetch you home ; and, he either
did not, or would not hear me, being more
agreeably occupied in devouring ' Dante's
Inferno.' I cannot come myself, having
sprained my foot yesterday ; so, make
haste, little puss, that you may be in time
to pour out our tea, and cut Lawrence
Singleton's bread and butter.
^' Your foolishly devoted father,
" A. G. Berhington.
" I have a bit of news for you, if you are
a good girl, and come home to tea."
The lamentations that were uttered by
Theresa's friends over this peremptory
recall may so well be imagined, that it
would be a mere waste of words to repeat
them. Suffice it to say, that their effect
upon the young girl's heart was a very
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 15?
flattering and soothing one; and, as she
walked slowl^^ home down the green lane,
and along the quiet road that skirted the
bright waving corn fields, a sensation of
exceeding happiness, and keen enjoyment
of life, filled her whole spii'it, and made the
world around her appear strewed ^ith
those lost flowers of paradise, which youth-
ful eves are still pri^-ileged, occasionally,
to discover amidst life's bitter weeds.
It is so sweet to feel one's self the object
of warm affection ; to know that when we
come, there vriH be smiles of welcome, and
of joy; and, when we go, there will be
tears of sadness and regret. The blessed
art of winning love comprises such dee])
and ever freshening som^ces of happiness.
It is the good fairy's birth-gift to a few
favoured mortals ; though, sometimes a
less kindly spirit ^vill try to hamper even
tills di^dne treasure ^vith a cm-se.
But, of the curse that mai/ attend the
power of inspiring love, the young, glad-
some heart knows nothing ; and Theresa
158 THE student's wife.
Berrington saw no dark or sombre thread
amongst the gay fabric her busy thoughts
were weaving — heard no wailing note
amidst the enchanting melodies which
rang that sweet sunime
pure and innocent heart.
rang that sweet summer evening in her
" Welcome, welcome ! my little rose-
bud," exclaimed Dr. Berrington, gaily, as
his daughter, looking the type of all fair
things, entered the cheerful parlour, where,
with his wife and La^Tcnce Singleton, the
disabled rector was sitting. '' You are a
dear child for coming home to us ; so, when
your mother has kissed away one of those
blooming cheeks, let me try what I can do
with the other. And, what's the news,
Tessie, what's the news ?"
'' Yom^s or mine, papa?" asked Theresa,
smilingly, as she disengaged herself from
her mother's encircling arms, and ran to
kiss her father.
"Oh, A'ours, mv dear, of course. We
are all dying to hear something of Miss
THE STUDENT S WIPE. 159
Ashton. But you have not spoken to Mr.
Singleton vet, and he is looking quite
" In niT eyes, he looks only profoundly
indifferent to all earthly objects," said
Theresa, bowing, good temperedly, to the
young man. who had, indeed, neither ex-
l^ressed nor betrayed the smallest interest
in her return. " But I can forgive you,
Mr. Singleton, and, in token of it, I am
now going to sit doTMi, and begin cutting
your bread and butter for you."'
"You are extremely kind," he replied,
colouring a very little, and smiling about
as much. " I hope you have enjoyed yoiu'
" Oh, above everytliing," said Theresa,
opening her blue eyes at tliis unexpected
courtesy ; " and so would you, I am sm^,
if you had been favoured, as I have, with
the societv of one of the most charmins:,
clever, and amiable young ladies in the
" And is Miss Ashton indeed all this ?"
160 THE student's WIFE.
asked Mrs. Berrington, drawing her cliair
to the table, and preparing for a little cosy
" Dear mamma, she is really a darling,
delightful creature — not a bit stiff, or
proud, or reserved, at least not with me ;
and so sensible and clever, that if she were
less good-natured I should be quite afraid
''But, Tessie, you have forgotten the
chief point in your description, and one
concerning which I see your poor mother
and Mr. Singleton are in an agony of
curiosity. In a word, is Miss Ashton
'* Oh, papa, it is you who are curious,"
said Theresa, laughingly; "and I shall
punish your slander of Mr. Singleton by
not answering the question, unless he
thinks proper to ask it. Now, who will
be in an agony, I wonder ?"
" Why, Tessie, you have become quite
mischievous," said her delighted father,
gazing with pride and fondness at his
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 161
child's sparkling eyes, as she turned from
him to look at the grave aad silent Law-
rence. " Come," addressing the latter,
" you are bound, now, for all om- sakes, to
propose the momentous question concern-
ing Miss Ashton's personal attractions."
The slightest possible expression of im-
patience appeared, for a moment, on the
face of the individual thus appealed to;
but he shook it off, and said, with a laud-
able attempt at appearing interested —
" Pray, then. Miss Berrington, keep us no
longer in suspense. Is this new friend of
" Shall I give you a full length portrait
"As you please. I promise to pay
" Well, then, we must begin at the head,
I suppose, or rather at the eyes, if we wish
to be correct. These are of a dark grey,
rather large, and very soft and earnest in
expression. The head is classically shaped,
and adorned with rich brown hair, simply
162 THE student's wipe.
braided over a wide, intellectual forehead.
The nose and mouth are what I must call
passable ; but the teeth are beautiful ; and
the figure of my portrait is remarkably
graceful and stately ; with hands and feet
that might be taken for models, if you
could fancy any one so dignified and re-
tiring as Caroline Ashton, submitting to
display her attractions."
" Bravo, bravo, Tessie," cried the rector ;
'' you will be writing a novel one of these
days ;" while Lawrence Singleton, after
keeping his eyes fixed on the former
speaker for a longer period than attention
to her description warranted, suddenly
turned away, and forgot to make a single
comment on what she had been telling
That same evening Theresa communi-
cated to her mother all that she had heard
respecting Mrs. Ashton' s desire of marry-
ing Caroline to Lawrence, as well as Caro-
line's determination of avoiding an intro-
duction to him.
THE student's WIFE. 163
"But you know, mamma," continued
this foolish, romantic child, '* there is no
reason against their liking each other ; and
I have a presentiment that it Avill end in a
charming wedding, at which Lawrence will
forget whether he is the bridegroom or
father, and, perhaps, conclude by putting
the ring on the finger of the old pew opener ;
that is to say, if love does not transform him
into a rational being."
"My dear Theresa," replied Mrs. Berring-
ton, gravely, "I am much vexed at all this
nonsense ; and I do entreat that you will
avoid mixing yourself up with anything of
the kind. Mrs. Asliton might, at least,
have reserved her plots against this young
man until he ceased to be Dr. Berrington's
Theresa said no more to her mother;
but she had so welcomed and caressed the
idea of being the means of helping a love
match between the dreamy Lawrence
Singleton and the sensible Caroline Ash-
ton, that she could not be expected to
abandon it all at once.
164 THE student's wife.
Young people generally commence their
initiation into the mysteries of human pas-
sion by meddling, either in imagination or
reality, with the love affairs of others.
Theresa did not visit the cottage again
for several days, as her mother required
her assistance in preparing for the recep-
tion of another pupil whom Dr. Berrington
had succeeded in obtaining. And this was
the hit of news with which he had at-
tempted to bribe his daughter to return
The honom-able Arthur Cressingham was
destined by his parents for a parliamentary
career ; and having idled away two or three
terms at Oxford, he had been suddenly
seized with a desire to redeem the time so
foolishly squandered; and meeting, acci-
dently, vdih the rector's advertisement, he
had proposed to his father to spend a few
months at Elderton, for the purpose of
carrying out his new and laudable am-
166 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
bition. To this plan no opposition was
made; and after the exchange of one or
two letters between the father and Dr.
Berrington, every arrangement was com-
pleted, and a not very distant day fixed for
the arrival of the aristocratic pupil.
Theresa was walking in the garden one
evening, in rather a thoughtful mood, for
her mother had been lecturing her that
afternoon for always talking to Lawrence
Singleton about Caroline Ashton, even
when it was clear that the subject wearied
him. She was reflecting now that it cer-
tainly was very silly of her to try, by
simple praise of a person he had never
seen, to make any impression on a heart
so evidently steeled against all soft emo-
tions, so far above the weakness — poor
Theresa fancied— of an every- day attach-
ment. Her father had told her that Law-
rence had brilliant talents, but that his
mind was too dreamy and speculative to
render them generally apparent. The rec-
tor had said, also, that his pupil was of a
THE student's WIFE. 167
strangely melancholy and contemplative
character ; and the simple-minded Theresa,
coupling this with his frequent abstrac-
tions, his seeming indifference to the trivial-
ities of life, and his occasional bursts of
excited feeling when anything beautiful,
either in art or nature, roused him from
himself — invested the reserved and unsoci-
able young man not only with a mind far
superior to any she had yet encountered,
but with a heart capable of the deepest and
tenderest passion, which was to be reserved
till he found one worthy to inspire emo-
tions so immeasurably above the ordinary
It is a cpmmon thing to connect a lofty
intellect with a warm and sensitive heart,
to believe that, because a person possesses
a keen appreciation of physical and moral
beauty, that he must necessarily have
deeper capabilities for loving, and stronger
inclinations for virtue, than his fellow
men. It is, assuredly, very possible that
wealth of heart and mind may be united
168 THE student's wife.
in the same individual, but it certainly
is not a general rule ; and I believe the
man of intellect will far more frequently
be found entirely destitute of warm human
feelings than possessing them in equal pro-
portion to the qualities and powers of his
Theresa Berrington, however, was quite
of an opposite opinion, for, in the few
works of romantic fiction she had read,
the heroes were of course miracles, both
in head and heart ; and those who, like
Lawrence Singleton, appeared in the first
instance cold and passionless, always awoke
at last as from a dark dream, and exhibited
emotions whose wild intensity was only
surpassed by their rock-like firmness and
On the pattern of one of these charming
heroes the rector's daughter had modelled
all that was mysterious and incomprehen-
sible in Lawrence Singleton's character;
and she was wondering whether, after all
Caroline Ashton would be sufficiently high-
THE STUDENT S WIEE. 169
souled to suit the requirements of such an
ethereal individual, when a sudden turn
in the thickly bordered and \Yinding path
she had chosen, brought her face to face
with the subject of her meditations — with
Lawrence Singleton — not absorbed, as
usual, with one of his worshipped books,
but walking slowly, and apparently enjoy-
ing the silent scene and hour.
" It is a pleasant evening," said Theresa,
when her first quick blush had partially
died away. " But what a wonder, Mr.
Singleton, to see you mthout a book !"
" There are books on everv side of me,"
he replied, ^^dth one of those earnest
glances that have been before alluded to.
" I am reading from nature now. Do you
not think that it is the fairest and clearest
page of all ?"
" Indeed I do," said Theresa, irresistibly
flattered by her companion putting a ques-
tion of this sort to her. ^' I have always
loved the country dearly."
" Have you ever lived in a town ?"
VOL. I. I
170 THE student's WIFE.
" Yes ; but not a large one. I think I
should be miserable in London."
" Even if you had a fine house, and gave
parties, and went to balls, and were very
much sought after and admired ?"
Lawrence said this with a sort of incre-
dulous smile, as though he felt a certain
conviction that no female heart could be
indiflPerent to such things. And Theresa
answered, indignantly, —
" Oh, Mr. Singleton, I thank you for
your opinion of me and of my sex. I see
by your look that, whatever I might say,
you would retain your very flattering
impression of us ; therefore, it would be
" Nay," interrupted Lawrence, fairly
smiling at the emotion he had excited ; " I
promise to believe implicitly whatever you
may tell me. What can I know about
women's tastes and feelings ? I have had
no opportunity of judging any, save my
mother, and she is no longer young and
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 171
Theresa was more than appeased, and,
as Lawrence actually 'turned and walked
on by her side, she said, with unusual
'* Then believe me, Mr. Singleton, when
I assiu'e you that in my dreams of the
futm^, neither a fine house, nor gaiety, nor
general admbation have had any place.
Oh, it is something far — far different, my
idea of happiness !"
*' What is it. Miss Berrington ? I should
like to hear."
There was something so exceedingly
nm/ce in the way this question was p^^t,
such an evident unconsciousness, on Law-
rence's part, that he was asking no less than
the most treasured and sacred thoughts of
a young gM's heart, that Theresa, though
she was certainly astonished, could not be
offended with him. She replied only, in a
low tone of voice, —
" It would not interest you or any one,
Mr. Singleton. Be satisfied in knowing
what it is notP
172 THE student's wife.
Lawrence said no more about it, but
continued walking near Theresa, as if wil-
ling to prolong the first tete-a-tete they
had ever had. The latter sought anxiously
in her somewhat bewildered brain for a
subject likely to please her companion, but
none suggested itself, now that Caroline
Ashton was forbidden; and feeling every
minute more embarrassed and ill at ease,
she stopped abruptly as they were approach-
ing a more secluded part of the garden, and
"I am afraid mamma will be wanting_
me now, so good bye till tea time."
"Why are you going away? Do not
leave me yet," replied the young man
quickly, but with as much coolness as if
he were addressing a child.
Theresa hesitated. A strange, undefina-
ble sensation fluttered at her heart. Por
a moment the green trees seemed to dance
before her sight, the firm ground to giv^e
way beneath her tread ; but all this passed,
and then, with an unwonted paleness on
her cheek, she gently declined the invita-
tion to remain, and walked, with a slow
and very thoughtful step into the house.
The next day Theresa asked and ob-
tained her mother's permission to spend
the afternoon with Mrs. Eorrest ; and set-
ting out as soon as their early dinner was
over, she reached the cottage just as Caro-
line had left the widow to enjoy her now
daily siesta, and was going to write letters
in her own room.
" But I am delisrhted to see you," said
the latter, with eyery appearance of sin-
cerity. *' Come up stairs, and I will find
you the books I promised ; and you must
admu^e my harp and piano, which are both
now unpacked. I am so glad to find that
Mrs. Forrest likes music. But, surely, you
are not well, my dear Miss Berrington;
you look quite pale and dejected."
"Indeed! I was never better," replied
Theresa, eagerly ; " but it is so warm to
day, and I walked fast. You must play
and sing to me by and bye ; that will do
174 THE student's wife.
They were soon seated by the open win-
dow of Caroline's pleasant room, looking
oyer books, discussing their contents, and,
if not quite vowing eternal friendship,
advancing so far towards it as to agree
in henceforth dropping the ceremonious
''Miss," and being Caroline and Theresa
to each other.
"And now," said CarolinCj after they
had talked for more than an hour on
general subjects, and she fancied her com-
panion was looking somewhat wearied, —
"tell me, dear Theresa, how you and Mr.
Singleton are getting on. Is he more socia-
ble and less bearish in his manners yet ?"
Theresa did not blush — perhaps, because
she had all along been expecting some such
question — but she replied, without her
usual animation — "There is no great
change in him. I dare say he finds us
terribly commonplace and uncongenial.
Minds like Mr. Singleton's cannot bend to
take an interest in everyday people. I am
sore I wish we were different for his sake."
THE student's WIFE. 175
Caroline could not help smiling as she
" You are a very humble little body,
Theresa ; but this Lawrence cannot be
what YOU appear to imagine, if he finds
nothino^ to interest him in your intellect
and character. I have alwavs heard that
the loftiest minds are those which attach
themselves the most readily to the natural
and simple ones."
Theresa bent over the book she had on
her knee, and made no reply ; but her
companion saw the rich blood mantle on
her cheek, and heard the Httle, half
smothered sigh, that told less of grief
than of emotion, which must be con-
cealed. Nevertheless Caroline continued,
**As I am Groins; to denv mvself the
gratification of becoming personally ac-
quainted vrith. Mr. Singleton, you must
tell me all his oddities, and describe the
process of the socializing system upon
him, Theresa. It will amuse me."
176 THE STUDENT S WIFE.
" But I shall soon see less of him than
I have hitherto done ; for papa has another
pupil coming in a few days, and then
mamma intends altering all our domestic
arrangements. The young men are to
take their meals with papa, at a late hour,
and have a room to themselves in the
evening, unless they prefer the parlour."
'' Your mother is prudent, Theresa.*'
" Yes ; she never much approved this
plan of receiving pupils. But shall we
go down now and see Mrs. Forrest ?"
Theresa was pleased to observe that
the widow and her guest appeared on
very friendly terms, and that the former
had resumed all her old habits, without
a fear of their meeting any interruption
from Miss Ashton, who spent the greater
part of every day in her own apartments,
and only joined Mrs. Forrest when she
felt assured her society would be agreeable.
Caroline played and sang with much
taste and execution, and this evening her
talents were really a resource, as Theresa
THE student's WIFE. 177
was not in her usual spirits, and, till the
music was thought of, a cloud seemed
hanging over the whole party.
"And now," said Caroline, when her
fino^ers and her voice were faklv ex-
hausted, — *'come and' see how I have
attended to your flowers, Theresa. Mrs.
Forrest seems to regard me as a novice ;
but I flatter myself I have done wonders
since you were here."
The widow walked out with her vouno'
friends, and thev soon fell into a cheerful
strain of conversation, during which the
tillage school, established by Dr. Berring-
ton, and one or two other charitable
institutions, under Theresa's particular
surveillance, were mentioned. The latter
asked Caroline whether she would like
to become a teacher in the school, or an
occasional \T.sitor amongst the poor, there
being no one but herself and Mrs. Ber-
rington to do all that was required in
" If," replied Caroline, promptly, " I can
178 THE student's wife,
be really of any ser\dce, I shall not hesitate
undertaking a portion of your work ; hut,
do not be disappointed, if my exertions
prove a failure ; because I acknowledge,
frankly, my heart will not be engaged in
the matter. I have no power of dividing
my sympathies — of doing a little here and
a little there. Give me one definite object
to accomplish, and I could set about it
with my whole heart and soul ; never
weary or grow impatient till the end was
attained. This is the peculiarity of my
disposition — an unfortunate one, perhaps ;
but I cannot change or modify it now."
" I think, in a general way, it loould be
unfortunate," said Mrs. Porrest ; '' because
it rarely occurs, to women at least, that
any great or important object is presented
to them. Our destinies are usually among
the quiet streams, which piu^sue the same
undeviating course from day to day, and
from year to year. In the lives of all
women there will be found thousands of
opportunities for the exercise of the lesser
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 179
virtues of humanity ; while, perhaps, not
one in a hundred ever meets an occasion
for concentrating her energies on an indi-
On one really worthy of undivided in-
terest, perhaps not," replied Caroline; ''but
I should imasrine it was no uncommon
case to find a woman merging every care
and hope into a solitary passion, and pur-
suing this, whether it he love, fame, am-
bition, or even revenge, with an energy
that no minor objects would ever, for an
instant, lure aside."
" It may be that such cases are common
enough," said Mrs. Eorrest, who was not,
however, a very profound reasoner upon
human nature ; " but I meant that for a
right-thinking woman, whose passions are
under her control, and who takes religion
for her guide, there will rarely arise oppor-
timities of exercising, T\ith profit, the
power of concentration, which you say you
*' I agree with you, dear Mrs. Forrest; nor
180 THE student's WIFE.
do I ever anticipate that my capabilities
in this respect will find any field for dis-
play; but what says this little, pensive,
listening friend of ours ? Theresa Ber-
rington, you are called upon to make a
speech, having reference to the last topic
** Indeed ! I am too ignorant to do any-
thing but listen," replied Theresa, rous-
ing herself from a profound reverie, which
had, probably, prevented her from bene-
fitting by Caroline's wisdom so much as
she otherwise would have done. "And,
indeed, it is time for me to say good bye.
Mamma gave me strict orders not to re-
main too late."
" Well, God bless you, dear child," said
Mrs. Porrest, kissing her with much affec-
tion ; " and mind, when you next make
your appearance, not to forget your smiles,
as you certainly have done to-day."
"If you do," added Caroline, running
after Theresa to the gate, " I shall seriously
recommend Mrs. Berrington to send you
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 181
somewhere for change of ah^; unless the
honourable Arthur Cressingham should
happen to be provided with a better pre-
"Don't tease me, Caroline," said poor
Theresa, meekly. " I have such a head-
ache this evening, and nobody, you know,
can be always gay."
*' Come soon, then, and I will let you
be as dull as you please. Shall we see
" I fear not. Mr. Cressingham arrives
the day after, and mamma will be so
" Ah ! that Mr. Cressingham, Theresa !
I fear he will monopolize you quite."
" Mr. Cressingham indeed ! — but good
night, Caroline; I will bring you all the
news in a day or two."
Mrs. Eorrest and Miss Ashton certainly
got on much better together than the
former had dared to hope they would do ;
but still there was nothing in the slightest
degree confidential in their intercourse at
present, and although the widow saw
much to admire and esteem in Caroline's
character, she could not regard her as a
loveable person, nor conquer her former
prejudices so far as to agree in the very
exalted opinion Theresa had formed of
their new acquaintance. If Caroline had
been a weak, or a timid, or a sickly girl,
the tender-hearted Mrs. Porrest would
have felt attracted towards her at once:
but as she happened to be strong-minded,
self-relying, and remarkably healthy, sym-
pathy and pity were quite uncalled for;
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 183
and Caroline Ashton was not endowed
with tliat fascinating art which, even with-
out any of these gentle pleas for human
love, uu^esistibly compels attachment.
Mrs. Eorrest was careful, however, to
conceal from her guest that she felt any
uncongeniality between them ; and if Caro-
line guessed that such Avas the case, it ex-
cited no apparent bitterness, bu.t caused
her rather to double her exertions for the
entertainment of the lonely woman upon
whom she knew now she had been forced
by her ambitious and ill-judging mother.
That a young, thoughtful girl could
be quite happy mider such • circumstances
was not, of course, to be expected; but
Caroline never complained, rarely looked
melancholy, and quietly pursued the
" even tenor of her way," trusting, per-
haps, that time or circumstance would,
sooner or later, bring a recompense for the
trials she now so patiently endured.
Mrs. Porrest made up her mind, at last,
to break the subject of Philip Maranham's
184 THE STUDENT^S WIFE.
proposed visit ; and the manner in which
Caroline received the intelligence would
have won any heart less obstinately closed
against her. The poor, nervous aunt, after
a brief prelude concerning Philip's parents
and his own disappointment at Mr. Mahon's
death, drew forth the letter in which he
announced his intention of coming to
Elderton, and read the greater part of it to
her attentive auditor, pausing when it was
finished to see whether the latter would
volunteer any observation by which the
amount of her horror at the anticipated
invasion might be guessed. But Caroline
only smiled calmly, and said —
" What a pleasure it will be for you to
become acquainted with the son of your
poor sister. You must be counting the
days till he arrives."
Mrs. Eorrest thought she was in a dream.
'' But such a wild young man, my dear ;
and then those terrible dogs — whatever
will you do ?"
Caroline laughed now outright. "Oh
THE student's WIFE. 185
never mind the dogs. I, for my part, will
keep as much as I can out of their way, and
we must manage to render then kennel so
attractive that they ^vill not care for being
in the house."
'* It is really very good of you to make
light of a circumstance that must be most
annoying,' said ^Irs. Forrest, in increasing
astonishment; ''but I fear a wild, noisy,
probably careless and untidy, yoimg man
constantly about the house will entnely
destroy your comfort."
" My dear Mrs. Eorrest, you must not
suffer these evils to appear greater than
they are. If your nephew should turn out
wild, we will tame him ; if he is noisy, we
will make him quiet. And should he also
prove both careless and untidy, why his
visit cannot last for ever, and we must just
bear with him while it does."
" Miss Ashton, you are certainly a phi-
losopher. But suppose, for a moment,
that we can neither tame Philip nor liis
dogs, and that all three continue noisy,
186 THE student's wipe.
destructive, and troublesome, will not your
patience fail even then ?"
*' I hope not. I have no fears on the
subject. And have we not Theresa to
assist us in chaining this formidable spirit ?
I have unlimited faith in A^r powers."
Mrs. Eorrest sighed. " Ah, that is just
the last thing to be desired, and yet how
" What do you mean ? I assure you I
only spoke jestingly."
" But it is, nevertheless, one of my most
serious apprehensions, that Philip and
Theresa may take a fancy to each other,
and then" — wringing her hands, as she
always did when nervously excited — " and
then, what should we do ?"
" Let them marry, I suppose," said Caro-
line, quietly ; '' but I have an idea that this,
at least, will prove a groundless apprehen-
sion. If Susan's report of the personal
attractions of Mr. Arthur Cressingham is
to be credited, he may turn out a for-
midable rival for the smiles of your little
THE student's WIFE. 187
" Well, that would be better, in a worldly
sense," replied Mrs. Porrest. '' But why
should not Theresa and you, and all who
are not positively miserable, remain unfet-
tered by closer ties ? How can people
imagine that by increasing their sources
of anxiety, they will increase their hap-
piness. Surely, it is -wiser to continue on
the safe side."
" Por my o^^tl part, I quite agree with
you," said Caroline ; *' and it must be a
more than common temj)tation, which
would change my settled purpose of join-
ing the despised band of venerable spinsters,
and preserving the independence that I
love. But I have not the smallest ambi-
tion to convert the world in general to my
opinions on this subject ; and, as far as
Theresa is concerned, I think it would be
a thousand pities even to make the at-
tempt. She is so eminently loving and
''And, therefore, more likely to encounter
trials in a married life. But this is an
188 THE student's wife.
idle discussion after all; and I have to
write to my nephew by to-night's post."
« « « ^ ^
The next time Theresa came to the
cottage, her accustomed cheerfulness had
returned; and she amused Mrs. Porrest
and Caroline by a description of the elegant
Arthur Cressingham, and the pains he
took to adorn his certainly very handsome
person, and the contempt with which he
evidently regarded the neglected toilette
and ungraceful manners of his fellow pupil,
" Who repays this contempt with indif-
ference, I hope," said Caroline.
''Exactly," replied Theresa. "I really
believe that Lawrence is scarcely conscious
of this important addition to our circle."
" And do you see much less of Mr.
Singleton than formerly ?"
There was a momentary hesitation, and
a quick but flitting blush ; and then The-
resa said —
" Yes ; mamma has carried out her
THE student's WIFE. 189
plans, and she and I take all oiu- meals
alone. However, I still see a good deal of
both the young men, as they generally
come into the garden when I am working
there; and Mr. Singleton, who does not
smoke, like his companion, sometimes
assists me in weeding and tying up my
Caroline smiled to herself, but made no
remark ; and Mrs. Forrest said —
" I am glad he is growing more rational.
And do you like him better, my dear ?"
*'Yes, certainly better; but you must
see Arthur Cressingham. I am sure he
would amuse you.*'
Theresa stayed that evening to tea, and
forgot afterwards, in the fascination of
Caroline's music, that she had promised
her mother to be home very early. When
this circumstance was first remembered a
heavy shower of rain was falling, and her
friends would not hear of her starting until
it was over.
It was not over so soon as they expected,
190 THE student's WIFE.
and Mrs. Porrest had just desired Susan
to prepare herself for taking Miss Berring-
ton to the rectory, when a sharp ring at
the garden hell announced a visitor, and
was speedily followed hy the entrance of
the honourable Arthur Cressingham, in
He came in with a considerable degree
of assurance ; and after bowing gracefully
to all the ladies, he addressed himself par-
ticularly to Theresa, stating that Mrs. Ber-
rington, being uneasy at her daughter's
prolonged absence, had requested one of
the gentlemen to go in search of the truant
— Dr. Berrington having, unfortunately left
home about an hour before, and the ser-
vants being, one and all, immersed in
Theresa could not help smiling, with the
others, at this account, which was given
with much quiet humour ; but there was,
notwithstanding, some concealed source of
annoyance in what she now heard, which
neither escaped the observation of Caroline
THE student's WIFE. 191
Ashton nor of Arthur Cressingliam, who,
after watching her for a few minutes, said,
with affected carelessness —
'^ By the bye, your mamma said you had
promised to he home in time to label some
scores of this delicious jam to-night ; and
I perceive, by your countenance, that you
are anticipating a maternal lecture for
playing the truant. Allow me to act as
mediator between you. I am in high
favour at present, having assisted in trans-
porting a cargo of little white pots from
the kitchen to the store room."
" You are very obliging," replied The-
resa, bestowing upon him anything but a
grateful look. " I need not, however,
avail myself of your mediation in the pre-
sent instance, because I have no fear of
mamma's anger. If you will wait two
minutes I shall be readv to return with
you, though I am sorry mamma should
have given you the trouble of coming."
" Miss Berrington cannot deem the hon-
our conferred on me anything but a lively
192 THE student's wife.
pleasure," said the young man, warmly;
and as Theresa, without noticing this
speech, was ahout to leave the room, he
added — " I ought, by the way, to mention
that Singleton would have offered to come,
only he was in the middle of a Greek exer-
cise, and thought he might lose the place
if he left it. I like to do justice to every-
How Theresa received this flattering
announcement, or whether she appreciated
the honourable Arthur's conscientiousness
as it deserved, is not upon record, for she
closed the drawing-room door abruptly as
the last words were uttered ; and when she
reappeared her veil was down, and the
adieux were hurried over on account of the
The inmates of the cottage saw no more
of her for a fortnight.
Two scenes occurred diu^ing this fort-
night which I am now going to exhibit to
Lawrence Singleton sat alone one morn-
insr in Dr. BerrinsTton's study. He had.
refused an invitation to accompany the
rector and Mr. Cressingham to Oxendean,
and was deep in some metaphysical work
he had chanced to stumble upon.
Suddenly the door opened gently, a light
footstep sounded on the floor, and looking
uj), he saw Theresa advancing, with ap-
parent reluctance, to the part of the room
where he was sittins^.
" Mr. Singleton," she said — " mamma
has sent me to ask whether you would like
to have your duiner ^vith us at two o'clock,
VOL. I. K
194 THE STUDENT S WII'E.
or wait for papa and Mr. Cressingham.
You are to do exactly which you prefer."
After looking at the speaker almost
tenderly for a minute or two, he replied,
'' Oh ! I will dine with you, by all means,
if I may. Come here, now, and talk to
me a little. I am weary of metaphysics."
To her very brow the rich blood sprang
impetuously, and one who watched might
have detected the tremulous motion of the
small hand that was suddenly raised, as if
to ward off the too -glowing sunbeams from
her dazzled eyes.
" But I cannot stay," she said, at las^,
"because mamma told me to make haste ;
and — and you will soon forget that you
Lawrence smiled faintly, as he replied —
" What strange creatures women are 1
Should you like me to say that I could not
forget it, that I shall think of nothing else
all the morning ?"
Theresa's lip quivered.
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 195
'' Indeed, Mr. Singleton, I do not ^ish
for any empty compliments, and I would
much rather that you said no more about
'' But you will leave me ?"
'' I must."
" But if you need not, would you ?"
'' I do not know."
*' Well, then, go ; I will not detain you."
Still Theresa lingered. Her blue eyes
were becoming liquid ; her heart was beat-
ing thickly ; but the student did not speak.
He was once more intent upon the hateful,
senseless book, and apparently unconscious
of not being alone.
Poor, poor Theresa ! She knew she ought
to go ; she felt she had l)een dismissed, but
pride and dignity must concede one parting
word, one parting glance, and both should
be icy cold — cold as his own.
"Then good morning, Mr. Singleton.
You will try to remember two o'clock."
He looked up quickly. Thek eyes met,
and smiling as he had done at first, he
replied gently, — k 2
196 THE student's wife.
" I will remember."
The next scene took place about a week
after this; but there was another actor
Theresa went one evening, when the
sun had set, to tie up some roses which
a heavy rain in the morning had beaten
down. She had announced her intention
publicly, and it is not improbable that she
expected one or both of her father's pupils
would join her in the labour, or, at least,
lighten it by their society. But nearly an
hour passed, and her hopes — if she enter-
tained any on the subject — must have been
rapidly decreasing, when the sound of foot-
steps on the gravel path suddenly struck
upon her ear, and sent the treacherous
blood dancing wildly over her face and
neck, and performing yet fiercer evolu-
tions in the region of the heart.
Theresa had been singing gently to her-
self, as she pursued her light labours ; and
the words '' I love and I am loved," bor-
rowed from some popular ballad of the
THE student's WIFE. 197
day, died upon her lips as she turned to
greet the new comer, and, perchance, to
inquire why she had been left so long
** Oh ! Mr. Cressingham, is it you .^"
pronounced by the young lady, in a tone
that was not very flattering to the in-
dividual addressed, began the conversation
*' I certainly am unfortunate enough, in
the present instance, to be myself, and
none other," answered the young man,
with a slight tincture of irony in his man-
ner. "But will you honour me by em-
ploying tliese idle fingers, and, in the
meantime, give repose to your OT^'n, which
are too fairy like for such rude occupation ?"
Theresa tore off an obstinate shoot,
impatiently, before she deigned a reply ;
and then it was — *' I am much obKged to
you, but I have nothing for you to do now.
The work is finished."
** Ah !" he said, kneeling on the smooth
turf beside her, and insisting on holding
198 THE student's wife.
up the tendrils of a creeping plant slie was
trying to coax round a wire stand, — '' I
deserve the implied reproof; and, upon
my honour, I intended offering my ser-
vices an hour ago. But the fact is,
Singleton persuaded me to take a stroll
with him ; and, I helieve, we lost our way
in those romantic wilds he is so enamoured
of. Miss Berrington, you are looking in-
credulous ; hut ask Singleton whether my
statement is not correct."
Theresa turned round suddenly, expect-
ing to hehold him to whom she was
referred, hut no one was visible except
the kneeling figure at her side; and as
she bent again over her task, with indif-
ferently concealed disappointment, Mr.
Ores sin gham said, quietly —
'' Oh, you will have to wait some little
time ere you make the appeal to the inter-
resting and accomplished Lawrence ; for
I left him, in the most exalted heroics, at
the bottom of the picturesque lane where
your charming friends reside. It chanced
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 199
that, as we accidentally strolled in that
direction, the sound of raA'ishing music,
accompanying a female voice, reached our
delighted ears ; and when, after a quarter
of an hoiu^'s patient listening, I ventured
to remind my companion that it was gro\^'-
ing late, he waved liis hand indignantly,
with a glance that plainly said — " Begone,
thou soulless clod of earth ;" so I took the
hint, and vanished. But, Miss Berrington,
I, also, love music ; and a few faint, silvery
notes that the sweet evening hreeze wafted
to me, as I entered the garden, have awak-
ened so powerful a desire to hear more,
that I do most earnestlv entreat of vou to
gratify me. It was a delicious song you
were warhling, ' I love and I am loved' —
the very sentiment, I am convinced, to
which you would give exquisite and
When Theresa looked up at the conclu-
sion of this ramhling address, there was a
strange agitation in her face, and a hurried
absence of manner — so to speak — which
200 THE student's wife.
by no means escaped the notice of her
"Won't you sing" to me?" he added,
presently, with a most insinuating soft-
" Oh ! I cannot sing — I know nothing
of music," said Theresa, abruptly, as she
threw down her garden implements and
unceremoniously walked away.
Arthur Cressingham watched her, for a
few minutes, with a considerable degree of
complacency expressed in his handsome
face. Then he muttered some sentence
to himself, in which the words, " exquisite
child of nature !" alone were audible ; and
lighting a cigar from a match-box he car-
ried in his pocket, sauntered leisurely in
an opposite direction to the one Theresa
The latter went straight into the house,
and met Lawrence Singleton coming
through the hall. He seemed intending^
to pass her without even a word of recog-
nition ; but Theresa was excited, and she
THE student's WIFE. 201
" Good evening, Mr. Singleton. I am
so glad to hear you have been entertained
by Miss Ashton's singing. I told you
how clever she was — how superior in
every respect. Oh ! I knew she was just
the person to suit you."
Lawrence looked down wonderingly at
the pretty creature who stood before him
with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes.
Por a minute or two he seemed quite at a
loss either to gather the purport of what
had been said, or to connect it in any way
with the speaker's evident excitement ; but
all at once, a smile — faint and momentary
— ^broke over his usually sombre counte-
nance, and he said, as he passed on —
" Good night, Theresa. Why don't you
practise singing yourself?"
"My dear, I find I must drive over to
Oxendean this morning, to purchase a few
things which I cannot get in the village ;
and, as Philip will prohably arrive now in
a day or two, I may not have another
opportunity. Do you feel disposed to go
with me, or must I leave you to your own
resources until the evening ?"
" Unless I can he of any assistance to
you, pray, my dear Mrs. Eorrest, dispense
with my attendance," replied Caroline
Ashton, immediately ; '^ for, besides having
one of my tiresome headaches, I regard
shopping with a degree of horror not easily
understood. When you are gone, I will
try the effect of a good, brisk walk. There
is a delicious breeze blowing from the hills
THE student's WIFE. 203
In half an hour more Mrs. Forrest
stepped into the chaise wliich was to con-
vey her to the comity town in search of
various small luxuries she thought her
spoiled nephew might require ; and, at the
same time, Caroline went to put on her
bonnet, in preparation for the solitary walk
she had decided on undertaking.
But fate had arranged that solitary it
was not to be, for as one young lady
descended the stairs, another was on the
point of mounting them ; and Caroline
Ashton and Theresa Berrington, after a
very cordial greeting, agreed to proceed
together to a delightful, lonely spot, about
a mile distant, which by the country people
was called " The Bennel."
This was a narrow piece of table land,
on the side of a somewhat barren hill,
enclosed by a fringe of lofty elms, and
covered thickly with patches of the fra-
grant gorse, intersected here and there
with one of purple heather. The trees
threw deep shadows over a large portion of
204 THE student's wife.
the isolated spot they protected, and round
all the country there was no place known
where the breezes blew so cool and fresh
as in this quiet and secluded *'bennel."
" I like it," said Caroline, as they walked
on slowly side by side, when their destina-
tion was agreed upon, " because the idle,
dirty urchins of the village have not yet
converted it into a play ground, and there
is no fear of having on^'s meditations dis-
turbed by the howls of some wretched
kitten or piippy, that these little unwashed
demons are torturing for their own amuse-
ment ; and the shade is always so deep and
dark, so like the subdued tints of the old
painters' landscapes. But why do you pre-
fer this desolate looking spot, Theresa ?"
'^ I never did till lately, and really I can
give no reason for doing so now ; only to-
day I long for quiet and darkness, or, at
least, shade — shade without one gleam of
sunshine. Caroline, I am very, very un-
"1 see you are, dear. May I enquire
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 205
the reason — or is it still a profound secret,
" A week or two ago I would have died
rather than confess what ails me ; but all
my pride is quenched now; I have no
feeling save one, and no hope to sustain
that one- Perhaps I ought not to tell you
an}i:hing about this ; and, I know I shall
risk your esteem, and perhaps lose your
friendship for ever. But, indeed, you
cannot guess what I suffer — how I lie
awake at nights, and watch the stars go
out ; and count the long hours, and pray
against that one feeling which has taken
such entire possession of me. I never had
a secret in mv life before — never cared to
conceal a thought ; and, I believe I shall
die soon, if I do not open my heart to
somebody ; yet, I cannot tell how to do it."
"My dear Theresa, I will spare you
the trouble," said Caroline, in a kind and
sympathyzing voice. '*I will guess your
secret, if I may."
Theresa trembled ^dsibly and turned
206 THE student's wife.
pale. "Can you Caroline?" I do not
think so ; but do not try at present. Let
us get to the "bennel," and sit down;
here we might he heard. There is one
who finds out everything — who I could
fancy, reads my very thoughts. If my
heart had room for a second powerful
feeling, it would be hatred of . Can
you guess this too ?"
'' Yes ; but calm yourself now, Theresa.
I will read to you from a little book I
have in my pocket, till we reach our
" What is it ?"
'' ' Zimmermann on Solitude.' Do you
know it, at all?"
Theresa started, and appeared to recoil
suddenly from her companion. But in
a minute she said, with touching sadness,
— " It is one of Ms chief favourites. How
strangely fate seems against me. Do not
read it aloud, Caroline. I will make
companions of my own thoughts till we
are in a more secluded spot."
THE student's WIFE. 207
In a quarter of an liour they readied
the *' bennel," and finding a delicious little
nook, where the gorse sprang more thickly
and luxuriantly than elsewhere, and the
trees flung their deepest shadows, the
two friends seated themselves, side by
side; and Caroline, returning '' Zimnier-
mann" to its original hiding place, prepared
to act the part of confidante to her still
trembling and blushing companion.
*' Well, Theresa, we are now away from
all the world, and my first guess is this —
you love Lawrence Singleton."
A few tears falling down her bmming
cheeks constituted Theresa's answer; and
Caroline continued —
'' Of course, I am not in the least sur-
prised — nothing could be more natural;
and, except that you look so unfeignedly
miserable, I should ofier you my warmest
congratulations. Now tell me, if you can,
whence this despondency arises ?"
" Oh ! Caroline, what a question ! How
can you, for one moment, suppose that he
cares one atom for me ?"
208 THE student's wife.
" Yet you, yourself, must have imagined
so once, Theresa, or your attachment could
not have ripened so rapidly as it appears
to have done."
" Caroline, you make me feel my degra-
dation ; but it is right I should. And you
do not know Lawrence. If you did, you
would understand that he is one to be
loved — worshipped, even — mthout any
effort of his ot^ti. I think he looks upon
me as a silly child — and, indeed, I am
little else; but what I feel for him has
matured my heart more than years of
ordinary experience could have done. I
had always fancied the passion of love
a dream of delight ; to me it is simple,
though continuous suffering."
"Poor child! you are, indeed, altered,
lately. But I have yet much to learn.
Tell me, first, the reasons you had for
imagining Mr. Singleton liked you; and
then let me hear those you now entertain
for fearing the reverse."
"But the first are so slight, so ridi-
THE student's WIFE. 209
culous, and the last so clear and unmis-
takable, that you will despise me as the
weakest and vainest creature in the world."
" Perhaps not, Theresa ; but, in any
case, let me know all you have to tell."
" Well, then, it began by his constantly
fixing his eyes on me in the most earnest
manner. I do not mean that my admira-
tion of Lawrence originated thus, for to
that I can affix no date, unless it might
be the day when Mrs. Porrest repeated a
conversation she had held with him in
returning one night from the rectory ; but
I mean that this habit of looking at me so
constantly first awoke in my mind an idea
that I was not altogether an object of
indifference to him. But how you will
despise me, Caroline, for these confes-
sions ! "
" Not at all. Your conclusion was per-
fectly natural and reasonable. But what
came next ?"
" He met me one day in the garden ;
and after some conversation — as I was
210 THE STUDENT'S WIFE.
going to leave liim — he asked me to stay.
Ah ! I know you ^dll laugh at this ; hut
my case is such a slight and meagre one,
that I cannot afford to dispense with the
most trifling incident."
" Well, go on, dear. I do not see that
it is so slight and meagre."
Theresa's eye hrightened for a moment,
and, in a firmer tone, she continued —
*' After Mr. Cressingham's arrival, Law-
rence hegan to join me in the garden,
when I worked there in the evening. He
sometimes helped me; hut oftener stood
still, looking on. We talked very little
on these occasions, and he never paid me
the simplest compliment, or said a word
that I could construe into anything heyond
the commonest civility."
" And have you nothing more to relate
helonging to this part of the question ?"
«« Very little. On one other occasion
he asked me to stay with him, when I
took a message from mamma ; and once —
just once — he called me ' Theresa' in a
THE student's WIFE. 211
tone, and with a look that, at the time,
I certainly thought indicative of some
slight interest in me. Now, this is all,
Caroline; the entu^e sum of proofs on
which I dared to found a hope of heing
loved by one as far above me as the stars
Caroline was silent for a few minutes,
and then she said —
'* AYhat, besides the consciousness of
your own inferiority, has recently depressed
this hope, Theresa?"
"Oh, a thousand things!" said the
other, deeply blushing. " Lawrence is
so variable in his moods. Often he does
not seem to know when I am in the
room; he passes me without a word or
look. Sometimes I fancy he guesses my
foolish love, and -fishes quietly to rebuke
it. Arthur Cressingham taunts me with
it, not openly, but by imputation ; and
when I writhe beneath his cruelty — for
cruelty it is — he seems positively to glory
in my sufferings. I am beginning to
tremble whenever he comes near me."
212 THE student's wife.
" And can you, in any way, account for
this singular conduct on his part ?"
'' No, except that he has a had, malicious
character, and delights in occasioning mor-
tification to others. "
'^ Scarcely a reasonable explanation of
the enigma, I think ; hut let us pass him
by for the present. What do you intend
" To do, Caroline ? What can I do, hut
endure in silence the misery I have brought
*' Cannot you go from home for a time ?
Have you no friends at a distance who
would receive you ?"
" None ; besides, neither papa nor
mamma would consent to my leaving
them, imless I told them what I have
been telling you, and this would be a
" I suppose so. Then shall I give you
" I should be grateful for any that would
lift this load from my spirits ; but I have
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 213
no hope of regaining the peace I have
" Peace, no : that, of course, in its real
meaning, you must never expect again;
but you may have joy, happiness, raptm^e,
and all the other fine-sounding emotions
which are generally accorded to mutual
attachment. For, dear Theresa, in spite
of your beautiful humility, I am perfectly
convinced that Lawrence Singleton does
not regard you with indifference."
" Oh, I am quite in earnest ; but don't
exhibit that radiant look too often before
me, or I may learn to regret that nature
has cast me in so insensible a mould.
After all, Theresa, this love has its mo-
ments of compensation, and you would not
return to your former innocent slumber if
*' Xot if I thought he cared the tinyest
bit about me, or would ever do so ; but,
shall I confess another idea that is haunt-
ing me, Caroline ? I have, latterly, felt a
214 THE student's wife.
conviction that you are the person to suit
Lawrence — that if he once saw you, his
heart would fix itself for ever."
" What absolute nonsense, Theresa !
These geniuses always exact beauty and
simplicity in the object of their worship.
I have none of the former, and certainly
too little of the latter to please an ardent
enthusiast like your Lawrence. Pray, dis-
miss such an unfounded idea at once."
" But you are so clever, dear Caroline ;
you could enter into his studies, under-
stand his enthusiasm, glory in his exalted
intellect. Then, too, you play and sing
beautifully. And he worships music; it
is quite a passion with him; and I can
barely get through the simplest air. Ah no !
it is too true, I can do nothing well, but
'' Qaite enough, dear ; but now for my
advice, for it is already getting late. Have
you sufficient resolution to shun this young
man as much as possible — especially to
avoid any tele-a-tete interviews ?"
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 215
" Certainly, I can do this, Caroline."
" Very well, but this is not all. You
must feign indifference, even if you cannot
feel it ; and, when you require one of the
gentlemen to perform any trifling service
for you, apply to Mr. Cressingham, —
though I would strongly advise you to
keep this one at a prudent distance also,
till you learn more of his character.
Above all, rally your spuits, Theresa, and
endeavour to disposses Mr. Singleton's
mind of the notion that he has the slis^htest
influence over yom' gaiety or sadness."
" I will try to follow yom^ advice, Caro-
line. But, now, I have two favours to beg
of you. You will not laugh at me ?"
" No ; name them freely. I would do
much to see you as you were."
'' Dear Caroline, you are very good.
One request is, that you ^yi\l give me
lessons in music, instead of in flower
painting ; the other, that you vnH consent
to be introduced to Lawrence Singleton,
and visit us at the rectory.
216 THE student's wife.
Caroline had promised not to laugh;
but she could not forbear a smile, as she
'^ The first favour you have asked will
afford me more pleasure in granting than
it will, probably, do to you in receiving;
the second, I cannot say as much for ; but
to relieve your mind from a ridiculous
apprehension, I will abandon my resolve
of remaining unknown to this fascinating
hero, and make my curtsey to him as soon
as you please."
" Thank you a thousand times, Caroline."
said Theresa, somewhat wearily ; for ex-
citement such as she had this morning
undergone was still so new to her. *' Then
I may come to you two or three times a
week for my lesson?"
''Whenever it suits you — the oftener
the better; but let us return home now,
or Susan will have us reported as lost or
Somewhat less thaii a week after this,
Mrs. Eorrest and Caroline were sitting
at tea together in the little parloiu' that
opened upon the lawn. It was a mild,
serene evening, and they had been pro-
posing to pay a visit to the rectory —
Caroline's first visit — the widow being
simply informed that Miss Ashton had
retracted her determination concerning
Mr. Singleton, to please Theresa, and that
they might be more together.
Mrs. Fori^st had heard the announce-
ment with much satisfaction, though she
entertained the private opinion that Caro-
ine contemplated this step only as a means
of getting more frequently out of Philip's
way. Nothing could persuade this timid
woman that her guest looked forward with
VOL. I. L
218 THE STUDENT'S WIFE.
anything else than abhorrence to her wild
" I am really quite anxious for this visit
now/' said Caroline, continuing a conver-
sation they had begun. "You think we
shall find them all at home ?"
'' All the family, no doubt, my dear ;
and, I presume, you do not care particu-
larly for the young men.''
'' Truly, no. I have seen one ; and, I
believe, I have a tolerably correct idea of
'' Of Lawrence ? Yet Theresa does not
talk much about him, does she ?"
" Not very much ; but you know, when
I first came, you both gave me a full-
length portrait of this interesting oddity,
and I have not forgotten it."
" We see om^ little friend so rarely now,
that I am seriously apprehensive the new
pupil may have made an impression on
her heart. He is, undoubtedly, very hand-
some, and has most polished manners."
Instead of replying to this, Caroline rose
from her chair, saying —
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 219
*'If YOU will excuse my leaving the
table before you, I will put aside my paint
box, and remove the vase containing that
delicate flower I am copying out of harm's
way. Susan would be exceedingly likely
to knock it down, in one of her quick,
bustling moments ; and I shall never get
such another beauty."
"Do, my dear," said Mrs. Forrest; and
she was about adding some remark on
Caroline's skill in painting from nature,
when a sudden and violent peal from the
garden bell caused both ladies to pause
and look at each other inquiringly.
" It cannot be Philip, of course," the
^ddow faltered, at length, in a tone which
betrayed that she entertained no doubt
whatever on the subject. And scarcely
were the words uttered, when a firm step
was heard on the gravel path, followed by
the abrupt and noisy entrance of a very
dusty-looking individual through the open
glass doors of the sitting-room.
" My best of aunts, here I am at last,"
220 THE student's wife.
exclaimed a merry, youthful voice, in
animated accents, while the owner of it
darted towards the pale widow and lite-
rally enclosed her in his strong arms,
imprinting a multitude of kisses on her
lips, cheek, and brow. Then turning,
when this ceremony was over, to the
astonished Caroline, who was just medi-
tating an escape from the apartment, he
rehearsed the preceding scene with all the
effrontery imaginable, wholly regardless
of the poor girl's indignant efforts to free
herself from this most unexpected em-
brace; and exclaiming — perhaps by way
of apology — " My dear cousin, too, as I
perceive by the striking likeness ! — how
delighted I am to see you. Come, you
can't be prudish with such a near relation ;
besides, nobody minds me."
Poor Mrs. Porrest, who was much nearer
fainting than she had ever been in her life,
tried vainly to raise her trembling voice,
for the purpose of rectifying Philip's mis-
take. Not a word would come, and she
THE student's WIFE. 221
was forced to stand a horror-stricken,
spell-bound Tiitness of the insult offered
to her quiet, dignified guest. But Caro-
line, herself, the instant she was released
from the stranger's arms, drew up her
slight figure, and said, in a perfectly lady-
like, but decided, tone —
" Mr. Maranham, if I do not demand an
instant apology for this extraordinary free-
dom to a lady you have never before seen,
it is because I owe a deep debt of grati-
tude to your estimable aunt ; and because
I feel persuaded, when you hear that no
relationship exists betw^een us, this con-
duct will never be repeated."
Philip looked at the speaker in mo-
mentary, but amusmg consternation; and
would, probably, have replied to her start-
ling address had not two enormous dogs
rushed, at this instant, upon the scene,
and commenced their installation by over-
turning Caroline's painting table, and
effecting the complete destruction of vase,
flower, and all.
222 THE student's wife.
Miss Ashton was half out of the room
when this disaster occurred ; but not hav-
ing the heart to leave Mrs. Porrest in the
midst of such terrible confusion, she now
returned, and, mastering her natural fear
of the powerful animals who were career-
ing wildly about the apartment, she
stooped to pick up the broken vase which
had held her precious flower, leaving
Philip to set the table on its legs, and to
coax his unmannerly favourites into more
becoming conduct. It was quite amusing
to listen to him now.
" Down, down you fiends, you devils !
Can't you be quiet for a moment ? Here
Tantalus — lie down, sir. My dearest aunt,
I am overwhelmed with shame — I feel
myself the greatest criminal on the face
of the earth. Come here, Charon, you
beast ! My kindest cousin, you must in-
tercede for me with your best of mothers.
Oh, what an unfortunate dog I am, to
make such an entree !''
Mrs. Porrest now found her voice, though
it was still but a very faint one —
THE student's WIFE. 223
"My dear nephew," she said, gently
ringing the hell at the same time, " I will,
with your permission, have tliese animals
removed to the kitchen for the present, and
then I shall he al^le to give a better wel-
come to my sister's child ; and also, per-
haps, to convmce him that the young lady,
who has just exhibited such admirable
forbearance, is neither my daughter, nor
his cousin; but simply a most esteemed
and honoured guest."
These words — the first his aunt had
addressed to him — appeared to make more
impression on Philip than anything that
had yet occurred. He siezed her hand
when she ceased speaking, and kissed it
warmly ; then, turning again to Caroline,
he said, with an irresistible smile of good
*' I am delighted to find that, if not a
relation, you are, at least, a guest of my
good aunt's, and that I shall, there-
fore, have ample opportunities of making
my peace with you. You look very amia-
224 THE student's wife.
ble ; so let us shake hands, and be friends
from this moment. My name is Philip
Maranham, and yours is "
"Caroline Asliton ! — Miss Ashton, I
should say" — put in Mrs. Forrest, who was
growing too bewildered to be perfectly
conscious of what she was about.
" Oh, hang the 'Miss' and the 'Ashton,"'
said Philip, squeezing the hand which
Caroline had frankly offered him, till the
poor girl was nearly crying out with pain.
" Caroline is quite enough, isn't it ? — or
Carry ; that is better still. So now. Carry,
we understand each other ; and I am your
sworn knight for ever and for ever."
It was quite impossible to be angry with
him, though unfeigned astonishment was
certainly painted on the faces of both
ladies ; but Philip was, happily, micon-
scious of exciting either surprise or dis-
pleasure; and, when the dogs had been
removed, he declared liimself capable of
eating a roasted ox; and said he would
first retire and change his travel-soiled
THE STX'DENT .S WIFE.
dress, and then join his dear aunt and her
sweet friend at the tea-table.
There was a dead silence for a few
minutes after he had left the room, which
wo -n. at len^h, bv a remark &t)m
Car jiiiiHj to the effect that she thought
Mr. Maranham had a most prepossessing
" He is the image of my beloved sister,"
said Air?. Forrest, ^ith tears shining in
her T • • ^ ^ j2ot been for this
re- . 1^ . >iii'iL Lti^i^erved me from the
fii'st. I ^hjiild not have suffered his con-
duet to you, my dear ^liss Ashton, to pass
unreproved. I feel, however, more grate-
ful than I can express for the gentleness
and indulgence you have shown."
'' Don't speak of it again," replied Caro-
line, with a deep and sudden blush. ''Your
nephew is very young. He seems to have
quite the Irish character — ^warm, impetu-
ous, and um-edee- "!:2 ; but, I have no fear
of his repeating iLi- '; zenee ; and I forgive
him fullv and ireelv."
226 THE student's wife.
" We must abandon our projected ex-
cursion this evening — at least I must ;
and I trust you will remain with us, my
" I think not," said Caroline. " I am
really anxious to see Theresa; and you
must have so many family matters to dis-
cuss. I will make my escape before your
*'Well, as you please, my love; but
it is getting' late even now. Shall I send
Susan to fetch you ?"
" Oh, no ; my visit will be a short one,
and I rather prefer a solitary walk ' in the
Caroline made haste to dress herself,
and intended to pass out by the back
door, as she thought, if Philip saw her
he might offer himself as an escort, or,
at least, give her poor hand such another
gripe as that from which it was still
smarting. But her plan proved singularly
unsuccessful ; for the individual she wished
to avoid was feeding his dogs by the
kitchen fire as she passed thi-ough, and
he demanded instantly where she was
*'To pay a visit, Mr. Maranham."
" Say Philip next time. But how far
have you to go ?"
*' Less than a quarter of a mile. To
" Several persons ; but I cannot stay to
talk now, or I shall be benighted."
*^ Can't I go with you?"
" No ; by the time your ox is consumed,
it would be too late."
"But I will give u}^ the ox. Do let
"Thank you; but I must still decline.
Yoiu^ aunt anticipates spending the even-
ing with you. Good night."
" Good night, sweet Carrj^, if it must
be so. I am falling in love much faster
than I ever did in my life."
Miss Ashton drew her shawl round her,
pulled do^TL her veil, and passed out.
The family at the rectory were all at
home; and in the parlour, to which
Miss Ashton was conducted, she found
Dr. and Mrs. Berrington and Theresa,
apparently discussing some very im-
portant or interesting suhject, which her
sudded entrance of course interrupted.
The clergyman and his wife received
Caroline with marked kindness, said many
flattering things to her, and hoped, that
now the ice was hroken, she would hecome
a constant visitor.
Theresa, who was looking much flushed
and excited, kissed her friend repeatedly,
asked a few questions about Mrs. Porrest,
and listened, with as much attention as
she could, to the account of Philip's arrival,
THE student's WIFE. 229
in which, however, it is but fair to say,
the most piquant incidents were omitted.
*' I must show you the garden before
it gets later," Miss Berrington said, sud-
denly, on the first pause in the conyersa-
tion. And Caroline, whose ciuisoity was
faMy awakened, got up instantly, and
followed her conductor.
They reached one of the shadiest of
the lab^Tinthine walks, and then Theresa
stood still ; and after booking searchingly
on all sides, began eagerly —
" Caroline, I haye something to tell
" Which has made you yery happy, dear
Theresa ; is it not so ?"
'' Happy ? I don't quite know. I think
my heart is too full for happiness. I ac-
tually tremble at my own feelings ; but
you shall hear what has occurred."
"And congratulate you, too, I hope,
"Not for what you think; but listen.
When last we parted, I had resolved on
230 THE student's wipe.
adopting your advice; so I came home,
and kept out of Mr. Singleton's way all
that day and the next — feeling more
miserable and desponding than I can tell
you. The following morning, at breakfast
— you know this is the only meal we all
take together — papa, after looking ear-
nestly at me for some minutes, said,
abruptly, — ' Tessie, you are growing quite
pale and thin. You don't take sufficient
exercise. I shall ^-o over to Oxendean,
in a day or two, and see if I can't get a
pony for you. This has been a long
standing promise; but I am quite in
"Of course," continued Theresa, "my
paleness vanished the same moment that
it was commented upon, as I knew that
every eye was directed inquisitively towards
my poor face. I longed to know how
Lawrence was looking; but I had not
courage at first to meet the penetrating
glance which I seemed to feel was upon
me. At last, when general conversation
THE STIJDEXt's WIFE. 231
was resumed, I ventured to turn my eyes
to the part of the tahle where he sat ; and,
as I suspected, he was gazing steadily,
inquiringly, and, I thought, sorrowfully at
my troubled countenance. I felt the tears
rush to mv eves. Oh, Caroline I am I not
lamentably weak ? — and immediatly after,
he rose quietly and left the room."
" Did you follow, Theresa ?"
" No. AYhen breakfast was over, papa
told me to go out for a walk, to call upon
Mrs. Porrest ; but, I had not the heart to
do it. I said nothing, but went to my
own room, and remained there alone the
whole morning. I wished earnestly to see
Lawrence. The idea that he attributed my
altered looks to himself, distressed me —
his strange glance haunted me ; and about
one o'clock, the hour when the young men
usually stroll in the garden, I proceeded
thither with a book, and, sitting under the
large walnut tree, waited anxiously for
^Ii\ Singleton's appearance. But I waited
in vain ; and found, to my disgust, that I
230 THE student's wife.
adopting your advice; so I came home,
and kept out of Mr. Singleton's way all
that day and the next — feeling more
miserable and desponding than I can tell
you. The following morning, at breakfast
— you know this is the only meal we all
take together — papa, after looking ear-
nestly at me for some minutes, said,
abruptly, — * Tessie, you are growing quite
pale and thin. You don't take sufficient
exercise. I shall ^'O over to Oxendean,
in a day or two, and see if I can't get a
pony for you. This has been a long
standing promise; but I am quite in
"Of course," continued Theresa, "my
paleness vanished the same moment that
it was commented upon, as I knew that
every eye was directed inquisitively towards
my poor face. I longed to know how
Lawrence was looking; but I had not
courage at first to meet the penetrating
glance which I seemed to feel was upon
me. At last, when general conversation
THE student's WIFE. 231
was resumed, I ventured to turn my eyes
to the part of the table where he sat ; and,
as I suspected, he was gazing steadily,
inquiringly, and, I thought, sorrowfully at
my troubled countenance. I felt the tears
rush to my eyes. Oh, Caroline ! am I not
lamentably weak ? — and immediatly after,
he rose quietly and left the room."
" Did you foUow, Theresa ?"
" No. AYhen breakfast was over, papa
told me to go out for a walk, to call upon
Mrs. Eorrest ; but, I had not the heart to
do it. I said notliing, but went to my
own room, and remained there alone the
whole morning. I wdshed earnestly to see
Lawrence. The idea that he attributed my
altered looks to himself, distressed me —
his strange glance haunted me ; and about
one o'clock, the hour when the young men
usually stroll in the garden, I proceeded
thither with a book, and, sitting under the
large walnut tree, waited anxiously for
]\Ir. Singleton's appearance. But I waited
in vain ; and found, to my disgust, that I
234 THE student's wife.
to my very soul. But I was spared the
necessity of replying to this home ques-
tion by the entrance of mamma and the
breakfast. I could not eat much, as you
may suppose ; and when everybody had
finished, Lawrence asked me to walk
round the garden with him — a request I
was too weak to refuse. ' You have eaten
no breakfast,' he said, when we had
got out of hearing ; ' why didn't you ? '
' Because I was not hungry,' was my
natural reply. ' Then you must be ill,' he
retorted, ' and you ought to have a physi-
cian. Is there a good one here ?' 'I don't
know,' I answered ; ' but I do know that
I am very well, and that I wish nobody
would notice me.' Presently he asked
whether I would take a ride with him in
the afternoon, if he could find a pretty,
quiet pony for me. I said it must depend
on mamma, and we went in together to
prefer the petition. Now, if it had been
Arthur Cressingham, I am sure the answer
would have been a decided ' No;' but Law-
THE student's wiee. 235
rence is difPerent : not a living soul could
suspect him of a desire to flirt, or of
ha\ing any other object in what he does
than a simple and straightforward one.
So mamma declared he was excessively
kind, and readily gave her consent to my
going. "Well, about four o'clock, Mr.
Singleton came into the parlour and
announced that the horses were at the
door. I hastened to equip myself in a
riding skii't that used to serve for my
donkey expeditions at the seaside, and
then, accompanied by mamma, I proceeded
to the front door, where, beside Lawrence's
OAvn horse, stood the most beautiful black
pony I ever saw, with new saddle and
bridle and everytliing complete. Mamma
immediately began a string of questions,
as to where he had procm-ed it, &c., &c.;
but Lawrence told me to mount, and
assured us both he would answer all in-
quiries when the ride was over. ' Caroline,
if you are not a rider yoiu^self, you can
have no idea of the really exquisite enjoy-
236 THE student's wife.
ment this exercise is capable of producing.'
To me it is almost bewildering at any time,
and now, with him beside me, with his
voice continually sounding in my ear, with
all the wild hopes (which this day's inci-
dents had renewed) whispering their sweet
music in my heart, I felt — ah ! I could
never tell you what my feelings were ; I
think I am mad still to talk about them,
as I am doing."
" I like to hear you, Theresa ; but what
did Lawrence say to you during this en-
chanting ride ?"
'' Oh ! he was all kindness and attention,
though, certainly, in a very composed and
quiet way ; but then, you see, this is his
nature — there is no lightness or frivolity
about him. He talked about books, asked
me what style of reading I preferred ; then
we spoke of music, and I told him you
were going to give me lessons in singing."
" And what reply did he make to this ?"
"None at all. He smiled to himself,
and remained silent for some minutes."
THE student's WIFE. 237
"But do you mean, Theresa, that,
durinor all the time vou were alone to-
gether, Mr. Smgleton said nothing that
you could construe into an acknowledg-
ment of attachment, on his part, towards
" Oh ! he said nothing," replied Theresa,
eagerly ; " but, surely, actions are more
eloquent than words, and you shall hear
now what he did. After being out at
least two hours — although it seemed far
less to me — I proposed returning home,
and Lawrence offered no objection. Papa,
who had been absent all the morning, was
standing, with mamma and Arthur Cres-
singham, in front of the house when we
arrived. The latter came forward to assist
me in dismounting, but I was determined
not to give him my hand, because he had
such a mocking, disagreeable smile on his
face ; so I called to papa — who was looking
rather graver than I liked — and I told him
I had enjoyed my ride excessively, and
that if he really meant to give me a pony,
238 THE student's wife.
I hoped it would be just such a quiet
darling as this one. 'To whom does this
belong, Singleton?' said papa, as Law-
rence got off his horse and came up to me*
'To your daughter,' was the quiet reply;
and, Avithout another word, he led his own
horse to the stable and then went, through
a different entrance, into the house."
'' Well, what followed ? This is really
quite an exciting story, Theresa."
" It was now their dinner time ; so papa
and mamma only looked at each other, and
then at me, in speechless amazement.
Arthur Cressingham accompanied us into
the dining-room, and then I left them to
take off my riding dress ; and mamma
soon followed me to demand an explanation
of what Lawrence had said. Of course I
could give none, being quite as much
astonished myself at receiving such a
beautiful present. So we waited patiently
till papa had finished dinner to hear what
he would say; and, when you arrived,
he had but just joined us, and a grave
THE student's WIFE. 239
discussion was taking place as to the pro-
priety of alloT\'ing me to accept the pony.
I am sure they have, neither of them, the
least idea that Lawrence means an}i:hing
beyond simple kindness ; so, I conclude
the argument will end in my favour. But
Oh, Caroline ! how can I thank Mr. Single-
ton ? — what can I say ? I feel like a person
in a confused though happy dream."
Caroline Ashton remained in thoughtful
silence for a few minutes, then she said,
*' I am afraid, Theresa, now your affairs
have reached this point, I shall prove but
an indifferent ad\dser. It certainly appears
strange to me that Mr. Singleton should
give you a handsome present, and yet
neglect the very favourable opportunity
he had, during your ride, to express the
feelings which you think, and / think, his
conduct plainly indicates. A\^iere is he
to-night ? I am quite curious to become
acquainted with him now.''
" I believe he has gone out again with
Mr. Cressingham. But let us return to
240 THE student's wife.
the house, or mamma will say I have
monopolized you altogether."
Caroline declared she should only have
time to make her adieus to Dr. and Mrs.
Berrington, as she was not in the hahit of
being out alone at so late an hour. Theresa
regretted that Mr. Cressingham was not at
home, as he would have been delighted,
she said, to oflPer his services to Miss
"But," replied the latter, "I should
rather have accepted Mr. Singleton's arm,
if you had raised no objection."
Theresa opened wide her eyes, and fixed
them on the speaker's face. "Oh," she
said, with a sudden coldness of manner,
" I have no doubt he would feel infinitely
flattered by your preference, and be most
happy to accompany you home. It is,
indeed, a pity that he is not here."
" So it is," replied Caroline, dryly ; " for,
as he is fond of music, I might have played
and sung to him."
"You will not long be without an
THE student's WIFE. 241
opportunity of doing so. I will suggest to
him the propriety of calling on Mrs. Por-
"Thank you, dear — that is just what I
Theresa burst into tears.
"There, that ^\'ill do you good, you
jealous little thing," said Caroline, putting
her arm round her companion's waist, and
gazing at her ^dtli the protecting tender-
ness of an elder sister. Your nerves have
been over-excited, and crying vrill prove an
excellent tonic for them; but do not let
them flow longer on my account. I only
wanted to see whether your natm^e was
prone to jealousy ; and now understand —
once and for ever — that I would not
stand in the way of your happiness for all
the LaT\'rence Singletons in the world;
and, moreover, — believing as I do that
every throb of your little losing heart is
influenced by this incomprehensible indi-
vidual, — I will use my utmost efforts to
bring about a definite understanding be-
VOL. I. M
242 THE student's wife.
tween you. Now, should you object to
trust him with me, Theresa ?"
A sobbing ' No' and a fervent pressure
of Caroline's hand were the only answers
to this; and then the latter, after taking
a hasty leave of her friend's parents, and
bidding Theresa be of good cheer, set out
upon her solitary Avalk to the cottage.
Caroline did not see Mrs. Forrest or her
nephew again that night, as on her arrival
she retired to her own room, and sent word
that she was going to bed. But on de-
scending in the morning to the breakfast
parlour, she found Philip presiding at the
j^reliminary meal of Tantalus and Charon,
who both growled sulkily on Caroline's
entrance, and looked very much disposed,
she fancied, to exercise their teeth ane^^
" Oh, I am so glad you are come at last,"
said Philip, making two strides across the
room to seize Miss Ashton's hand. *' Do
you know I have been dreaming about you
all night, though I never got a wink of
sleep. Come, say something pretty and
kind to me — won't you ? It's no joke to
244 THE student's wipe.
lose an entire night's rest, after such a
journey as mine."
''What am I to say, Mr. Maranham ?"
asked Caroline, sitting down as far as she
could from Tantalus and Charon.
" Surely your own heart might suggest
something — such as, ' I am truly grieved,
dear Philip, that you should have failed to
repose mth that serenity which your spot-
less conscience ought to insure ; but if I
can atone for this disappointment by any
little extra favour or indulgence, believe
me, I shall only be too happy to do so.'
Have I interpreted your sentiment, fair
" Most skilfully, of course.' Now, what
favour, or indulgence do you require ?"
'' Ah, let me see. I should not mind a
friendly kiss to begin with."
" Really, you are very moderate in your
demands ! And, supposing this granted,
what would be your next request ?"
" Oh, we won't play at ' supposings,' if
you please. Give me the kiss, and then
I'll think of something else."
THE STUDENT S WIFE. 245
" No ; I must exact the whole catalogue
of your requirements first. I cannot grant
favours in the dark."
'' You are not such a good-natured gui
as I took you for, after all ; but, let me
reflect. Well now, when you have kissed
me, I shall probably ask you to go for a
walk with me. You go — we're only sup-
posing, of course — and then, as a natural
sequence to this, I shall require you to
spend the evening with me — to play, sing,
read, and talk, till all my heart is won ;
upon which I shall entreat of you to give
me yours in return, and we shall have a
wedding and a bridal tour, and end, like a
fairy tale, by li\ing very happy ever after-
wards. Xow, please to kiss me, mia bella
"Thank you," said Caroline, mth admi-
rably preserved gravity ; " but, since you
have opened to my view the consequences,
I must decline taking this first step. Im-
possible, I should imagine, for two natures
to be more antagonistic than yom^s and
246 THE student's wife.
mine ; but we may be firm friends, not-
withstanding ; we may even be Caroline
and Philip to each other with perfect
safety; for, between us, there will ever
exist a moral wall of separation, which
would be as difficult for me to step over as
that physical one, in the person of your
dog' Charon, who now forbids my approach-
ing you to offer my hand on this compact,
by stretching his formidable body across
that part of the room I should be obliged
" Ah, you are cold, icy cold," said Philip,
with a look of real disappointment. '' I
might have known that England could
produce nothing warm, or fresh, or genial.
Here, come to me, old friends" — turning
to the sleepy dogs — " you, at least, have
Irish hearts, and Ave must console each
There was a striking plaintiveness in
Philip's voice as he spoke these words,
something so entirely at variance with his
former wild, dare-devil manner, that Caro-
THE student's WIFE. 247
line looked up at him in pure astonish-
ment, and she was on the point of
giving expression to some gentle, soothing
thought which her kind heart had sug-
gested, and which, if spoken at that par-
ticular moment, might have entered into
Pliilip's soul, and changed materially both
their destinies, when Mrs. Forrest came
suddenly into the room ; and they all sat
down to breakfast.
'' I fear," said the widow, when the
first pause in her nephew's rattling, but
certainlv amusinfir, nonsense allowed her
an opportunity of speaking, — "I fear,
Philip, that you will soon be disgusted
with Elderton. There is no society be-
yond the rectory, and Miss Ashton and
myself are such very quiet people."
Philip made an expressive grimace as he
replied — " Then I am afraid I shall become
mischievous — pour 2)asser le temps. But
I suppose this delectable neighbom^hood
abounds in the pictm-esque. Cannot the
amiable Caroline introduce me to some
248 THE student's wipe.
woodland glade or wild hill side, where I
may dream of elves and fairies, and bewail
my lonely lot ?"
" I shall he happy to take a walk with
you hy and bye," said Caroline, quietly,
"if, at least, you can insure me from
heing eaten up hy your hungry dogs.
Mrs. Eorrest knows what a coward I am."
" Oh ! they won't hurt you," replied
Philip, a little disdainfully. '* But when
shall you he ready to start ?"
'' In about an hour. I have employ-
ments that will detain me till then."
'' But you are not going to leave this
" Indeed I am. Your aunt is good
enough to allow me apartments of my own,
where I generally spend the morning."
" And can't I spend it with you ? I am
very harmless, upon my honour."
'^ I have no doubt you are ; but I must,
nevertheless, decline receiving you to-day.
If you are fond of reading, I can lend you
plenty of books."
THE student's WIFE. 249
'* Have you smythmg more interesting
than a Preneh Gramnier or a ' Pinnock's
History of England ?' "
"That depends upon your taste," said
Caroline, gravely. '' I have * Mason on
Self-knowledge' and ' Harvey's Medita-
tions among the Tombs.' "
''Thank you. You don't happen, also,
to possess ' The Whole Duty of Man,' do
you? — because, if so, I'll take the three,
and go and bury myself, Avith them, under
one of the yew trees in Elderton church-
" I will see what I can find," answered
Caroline, as, ha\ing finished breakfast, she
rose and went out of the room.
Mrs. Forrest, who had been an attentive
listener to the foregoing dialogue, looked
earnestly at her nepliew when they were
alone, as if she would fain read liis opinion
of their recent companion. Eut Philip
was the first to speak.
''That is evidently a clever girl," he
said, abruptly, "and she has a fair and
250 THE student's wife.
pleasant face. What a pity she should not
have a warm, Irish heart !"
'* But you must not suppose, Philip,"
replied his aunt, " that it is only in Ire-
land that warm hearts are to be found.
Many among the English may rival even
your country people in this respect. Caro-
line Ashton is a most amiable young lady ;
but she is not even the type of a class — at
least, I have never met with another at all
" Then, you, too, think she is cold ?"
''Yes. This certainly appears to me
the great defect in her character ; and yet
she is one of the least selfish persons I ever
"If she hadn't been so confoundedly
cold," began Philip, half to himself; but
passing out into the garden, where his
dogs were basking in the sun, the rest of
the sentence was lost to Mrs. Porrest for
A few minutes after the expiration of
the stipulated hour, Caroline, very neatly
THE student's WIFE. 251
and becomingly dressed, joined Philip on
the lawn, and announced that she was
ready to walk with him. He started up
immediately from his recumbent posture,
looked at her steadily for a few seconds,
then whistled to his dogs, and offered his
arm to the younsr ladv.
'^ Where are we going?" were his first
words when the garden gate had closed
upon them. *' Have you any woods about
" Yes ; but they are too far to reach
to-day. We must keep to the lanes and
" I hate pastoral scenery ; but every-
thing, I suspect, will prove tame and flat
"It is a pity you came."
" I begin to think so too. Why don't
vou call me a savas^e. Miss Ashton?"
" Because you are not one."
" What am I then ?"
" A young man who has been very much
spoiled, and who is now in a bad temper."
252 THE student's wipe.
"You are extremely polite. Perhaps
you will, also, be good enough to inform
me what has occasioned this bad temper ?"
" No ! we can none of us look into each
others' hearts ; and those who presume to
judge of inward feelings by the outward
manner, are likely to fall into very fatal
" Then, pray, how are we to judge ?"
" I think we are told that it is well to
avoid all judgment of our neighbours. In
the present case, I am quite disposed to
obey this precept, and thus save myself
from the possibility of any uncharitable
" How do you mean ?"
" That, by forbearing to search into the
cause of your ill humour, I cannot attri-
bute to you more unworthy feelings or
fancies than you actually possess; which
I might do, if I ventured upon a pre-
mature judgment of one who is almost a
stranger to me."
" What, if I told you that my ill humour.
THE STrDEXT S WIPE. 253
as you call it, arises from the judgment my
reason has passed upon your inward feel-
ings — exhibited, of coiu'se, through your
" I shall say that my outward manner
was unfortmiate in having given offence to
Mr. Philip ]\Iaranham ; but that it is now
too old to change its garb or amend its
After a pretty long interregnum, during
which Pliilip was rude enough to vrhistle
an Irish ah, he said, suddenly —
'' Pray, Miss Caroline Ashton, where
were you educated ?"
"At Eairfield House, Kensington, near
London," was her prompt reply; "but I
fear thev would not receire vou as a
" I am not going to ask them,'" he said,
rather an^rilv. "I was onlv thinkinsr
that the head of the establishment ouorht
to have a gold medal for tm-ning out
such a finished pattern of propriety as
254 THE student's wife.
" I am glad you approve of me. Shall
we rest a few minutes under this venerable
"Philip threw himself on the ground,
and summoned Tantalus and Charon, who
still appeared to view Caroline with any-
thing but a friendly eye.
"Won't you stroke the dogs ?" said the
former, observing that his companion kept
somewhat aloof from himself and his
favourites. " There can be nothing against
the rules of Eairfield House in that, I
" Perhaps, when I know them better, I
may approach and even touch them with-
out fear," replied Caroline, taking no
notice of his pettishness ; " but, at present,
I must decline any familiarities with those
fierce looking satellites of yours, whose
beauty I have, nevertheless, sufiicient
taste to admire."
" Philip curled his lip, and said, pre-
sently, " It is well that you are as cautious
with the dogs as you are with their
THE student's aviee. 255
master, or I might strangle them in a fit
of spite. I suppose the real fact is, that
you have o>ot a lover somewhere in the
vicinity of Eairfield House, who has for-
bid your being the least friendly to other
''I have no loA'er," replied Caroline,
'' and never had. Mv nature is uncon-
scious of any yearnings for that sort of
"Hang me, if I didn't think so!"
exclaimed Philip, with startling energy.
" One might as well try to melt Snowdon
with a bit of hot peat, as to make an im-
pression on such a heart as yours."
Caroline smiled, and the least possible
tinge of colour passed like a shadow over
lier face, and escaped Philip's observation,
who soon continued —
" Unfortunately for me, I cannot boast
of an equal degree of insensibility. I have
a vrWd, constant, and torturing craving for
this very affection which you despise. My
firm comdction is, that I am doomed never
256 THE student's wife.
to inspire it — that I sliall pass through
life tolerated by many of my fellow beings
— ^liked by a few, and loved, really, truly,
devotedly loved, by none. Prom a child
I have been possessed by this fierce thirst
for human love. I say possessed, for it
holds me as firmly as the demoniacs held
their miserable victims in ancient days.
I cannot get away from it, and already it
has led me into dangers innumerable — into
the water and into the fire. I have never
been seriously in love myself, not because
my nature is incapable of the passion —
every bounding pulse will tell a different
tale — ^but because I have never happened
to meet the individual whom fate has
reserved to make my torment or my joy —
joy, did I say ? No, I feel it will be only
bitterness and despair. Caroline Ashton,
you are in for it now. Don't open those
soft eyes, whose expression at times con-
tradicts the cold words that fall from your
icy lips ; don't look as if you suspected a
madman beside you. I am not this. I
THE student's "WIFE. 257
only mean, that since you have yourself
pronounced the inipossihility of ever be-
coming nearer or dearer to me, I have
elected you to the dignity of my confidante.
You have a kind heart, though not a warm
one, and you are imselfish — so the office
will suit you well. What do you say ? Is
it a mutual agreement ?"
'' If I am to have a choice in the matter,"
replied Caroline, '* I shall Leg to dechne
the honour vou wish to confer on me,
unless" — she paused for a moment — "un-
less I could really do you any good by
listening to your revelations."
" Upon my soul, you are a strange girl,"
said Philip, trying to look into the face
which his companion, with apparent in-
tention, kept averted from him. " You
begin your speech in a tone sufficiently
freezing to convert everything around you
into a mass of petrifactions, and you finish
it in a voice as soft and plaintive as the
notes of an iEolian harp. Caroline, do
let me see your face, if you please."
258 THE student's wiee.
Caroline turned and smiled.
" Thank you. There is something
serene and yet cheering in the expression
of your eyes : they are beautiful eyes,
Caroline, and I read in them now that you
will be my friend and counsellor, that I
may regard you as a faithful sister, and
look to you at all times for indulgence,
sympathy, and — platonic affection. TeU
me if I have read correctly."
" If you are satisfied with this reading,
let it be so ; only do not reckon too much
on my indulgence. To be really faithful,
I must be sincere and just."
a There, now you have adopted the
freezing tone again, and the very air has
become chilly and ungenial. Let us go
"Theresa, my dear," said Mrs. Berring-
ton, as she came into the breakfast -room,
key-basket in hand, the morning after
Caroline's visit, " had you not better go
now and thank Mr. Singleton for his
handsome present. He is quite alone in
the studA^ and the others will not be
down just yet."
*' Yes, mamma, I will go immediately,"
replied Theresa, di'opjoing all her working
implements in succession, and becoming
red and pale alternately in the exertion of
picking them up.
'* But do not stay to chatter, my love,'*
continued the prudent mamma, " as I have
a little atfau' to consult you about before
papa comes down. Why, Tessie, how
260 THE student's wife.
clumsy you are this morning; you have
dropped those scissors at least four times."
Theresa huddled all the things together,
and hastened to leave the room.
There was only a short passage between
the breakfast-room and the study, and one
that generally occupied about a minute in
traversing ; but, on the present occasion,
Theresa contrived to make the one minute
nearely ten ; and, when these were expked,
to linger still on the outside of the study
door, as if the interior contained something
from which she naturally and instinctively
Ask her if it is so, and listen for the
answer, made amidst the wild throbbings
of that simple and truthful heart. It says,
" I tremble at my own happiness — I shrink
not from Mm, but from myself; from
feelings which will not be concealed when
that voice is ringing in my ear. I long
and yet dread to hear him own he loves
me. I could almost fancy that my senses
will flee away in the presence of such
THE student's WIFE. 261
exceeding joy ; and vet, I know now that
it is — that it must be so. Lawrence — my
Lawrence loves me.''
Theresa heard the clock strike : it only
wanted a quarter of an hour to break-
fast time, and there was not a minute now
to lose. She grasped the handle of the
door with nervous haste, turned it quickly,
and stood within the room.
Lawrence was writing, near the win-
dow ; but he looked up on hearing some
one enter, and put down his pen when he
found it was Theresa. She was too much
agitated to think of the ordinary morning
greeting; so, without even a word of
apology for the intrusion, she began —
" I have come, Mr. Singleton, to do
what your abrupt departm'e, as well as
the surprise I felt, prevented me doing
yesterday — ^to thank you, I mean, for a
present which is far too handsome for me,
and which both papa and mamma feel
quite distressed at your having purchased."
If Lawrence Singleton thought, because
262 THE student's wife.
of these cold, formal words, that there was
any deficiency of gratitude — warm, ardent
gratitude — in Theresa's heart, he must
have been something more than a matter-
of-fact fool; but, perhaps, he did not
think so, for he replied the moment the
first speaker paused —
" And are you distressed, also, Theresa ?"
'* How can I be ?" she said, softly ; then
added immediately — " I feel only that it is
too good for me; that I am altogether
unworthy of the kindness I have received
Lawrence said — "Nonsense." But he
must have been assured that, if truth
ever issued pure and undefiled from human
lips, it did so then — when a meek and
loving girl expressed a conviction of her
own unworthiness, compared with the
object of her affection.
" Nonsense," he said, rather brusquely.
" What kindness have I shown you ? I
heard you wanted a pony, and I had the
means of procmdng one. I shall be very
THE student's ayife. 263
glad to know that you enjoy it. And now
leave me, there's a good girl, because I
have a translation here that I want to
finish before breakfast."
If anybody guesses that Theresa lingered
after this, they will be doing her a grievous
wrong. Less than a minute from the time
the words were spoken, Lawrence had the
study to liimself again, and Theresa was
flying towards her own room, that she
might have a few seconds to school her
surprised and wounded heart, and compose
her agitated features ere she presented
herself before Mrs. Berrington.
Nine o'clock ! They will all be assem-
bling now ; and, if she lingers longer, she
will be obliged to face the Avhole party at
once, and probably receive a public lecture
from her mother for having stayed to
gossip with Mr. Singleton.
Theresa felt that anything would be
preferable to this ; so, putting on a mask
of smiles — that mask which the world's
hollow conventionalities too often oblige
its children to assume — she went slowly
down stairs to the breakfast-room, and crept
quietly, hoping to escape observation, to her
mother's side. Eut Mrs. Berrington neither
slept nor dreamt in the daytime, so, look-
ing up from the tea-pot, which she had just
been filling, she said, reprovingly —
" Theresa, you should not have remained
with Mr. Singleton so long. It does not
look well ; it is not right in any way."
''Mamma," was the patient answer; I
was a very short time in the study; I
have been to my o^Yll room since."
Mrs. Eerrington's countenance relaxed.
" Oh, in that case, my dear, it is all very
well. You thanked Mr. Singleton, of
" Yes, mamma.''
'' Did he say anything about his motives,
or allude to — in short, did he give you
no explanation concerning this splendid
" None whatever, mamma. He only said
it would afford him pleasure to see me
THE student's wiee. 265
enjoy it ; and then he returned to the
occupation which I had interrupted."*
** A most unaccountable person, cer-
tainly '/' said Mrs. Berrington, in a musing
tone : then, turning to her daughter (who
had seated herself in the darkest part of
the room), she continued, cheerfully —
'' But now, Tessie dear, we must talk
about this little plan of mine. I want to
give a party.''
" A party, mamma ?*'
" Yes love, a regular old-fashioned one,
such as I remember my own father and
mother used to give when I was a girl,
and which I always enjoyed far more
than any of the finer ones of later days.
We lived quite in the country, you know,
and had a small farm and a magnificent
orchard, which yielded fruit enough to
supply half the county. Well, when the
time for gathering in the last apples, and
pears, and walnuts arrived, my dear mother
always invited the whole of our friends and
neighbours to a dinner, which generally
VOL. I. N
266 THE student's wife.
took place in the open air; and, when
this was over, set them all to work at the
gathering — ^the gentlemen climbing the
ladders and plucking the fruit, and the
ladies and children receiving it in their
aprons and pinafores. You can form no
idea of the merriment excited by the
occupation. The old orchard used to ring
again with shouts of laughter and screams
of delight. The day always concluded
with a dance under the dismantled trees,
to the music of the village piper, which
was then considered all-sufficient for any
country assembly. Ah! those were, indeed,
merry times, and merry hearts; but the
world has changed since then."
" It must have been very nice, mamma,''
said Theresa, from her quiet corner : " but,
as you observe, the world has changed
since then; and I really do not believe
you would succeed in persuading any of
the young men of our generation to
attempt the occupation, much less make
them enjoy it. Pancy Arthur Cressingham,
for instance, in his tight, Parisian boots
THE student's wiee. 267
and lemon- coloured gloves, deliberately
mounting a ladder to gather apples and
walnuts ! I believe he would have a
fainting fit at the bare idea/'
Mrs. Berrington laughed at the picture.
"Yet/' she said, "I could more easily
imagine Mr. Cressingham making himself
a child, for once in a way, than Lawrence
Singleton. Tessie, shut your eyes for one
moment, and try to realize the pictiu^e of
our solemn, studious friend, standing on
the ladder top and pelting walnuts at the
admiring crowd beneath him !"
*'I am sure I should be verv sorrv,"
began Theresa, indignantly; then, re-
membering whom she was addressing, she
added—" I mean, mamma, that you must
see yourself that your old-fashioned party
would be a complete failure."
" Granted, if I attempted an exact copy
of the original I have been describing,"
said ]Mrs. Berrington, svith a smile ; " but
such was never my intention. We must
have proper people to gather the fi:uit ;
268 THE student's wife.
but it is always a pretty sight, and my
idea was, to give a little quiet dinner first
to our friends at the cottage — from whom
you have received so much kindness — and
then to let you all disperse about the
orchard and garden till tea time; after
which, Miss Ashton can give us some
music, or you can get up a dance, or
amuse yourselves in any way you please.
Now, what fault has your little modern
ladyship to find with this plan ?'*
" None, mamma. When is it to take
"Well, the fruit is quite ready to be
gathered now; so I was thinking about
next Monday. And you might go down
to the cottage to-morrow, and deliver the
invitations ; of course, Mrs. Porrest's
nephew must be included."
"Tessie, my dear,* there is certainly
something the matter with you, or you
would not be so indifferent about receiving
your friends. But here comes 'papa;' so
I shall catechize you another time."
Caroline had just persuaded Philip to go
out for an hour with his dogs on the follow-
ing morning, when Miss Eerrington was
" T^^e never see you here now," said
Mrs. Porrest, imprinting a kiss on the pale
cheek of her visitor. '' But, I perceive you
are not well, so I must keep my reproaches
for another time. And, by the bye, my
love, I ought to have begun with congratu-
lating you on your recent acquisition. We
are quite curious to have a sight of this
"I have come," replied Theresa, "with
an invitation from mamma, which, if you
both accept it, will give you an opportunity
of gratif)dng your cm^iosity. Papa and
mamma wish you, my dear Mrs. Porrest,
270 THE student's WIFE.
and Miss Asliton, and Mr. Maranliam, to
dine at the rectory next Monday. There
will be a fruit gathering in the afternoon ;
for the dinner is to be at the unfashionable
hour of three o'clock, and we must amuse
ourselves out of doors as well as we can
till the evening. Do come, all of you, or
mamma will be so disappointed.'*
Mrs. Forrest entreated to be excused,
but accepted readily for Philip, and left
Caroline to answer for herself.
" Oh, you must come," said Theresa, in a
tone that left her own wishes on the sub-
ject somewhat doubtful — '' for nobody else
can play or sing ; and I am sure I don't
know what we could do all the evening
without music ; besides, both Mr. Cressing-
ham and Mr. Singleton are anxiously an-
ticipating the pleasure of seeing and hear-
ing you ' '
Poor Theresa could get no farther, on
account of a tiresome choking that would
rise in her throat ; and Caroline answered
THE student's WIFE. 271
"Of course, I shall feel the greatest
pleasure in accepting your mamma's in-
vitation. And now, come up stairs with
me, and take a singing lesson/'
They hoth left the room together ; but,
on arriving at Caroline's little sanctum,
Theresa refused to lay aside her walking
dress, declaring she was not in a singing
humom', and had no time to stay.
*' You have not a spark of curiosity,
then, to see Philip Maranham?" said
Miss Ashton, trying to make her grave
"Oh, I had forgotten all about him,"
replied Theresa, taking up a book. " How
do you like him now ?"
'* I think him amusing and original."
" Always laughing and talking nonsense,
I suppose? How detestable."
" No. Occasionally he talks sense,"
said Caroline drily. "And, although he
may not be gifted mth the exalted intellect
of Lawrence Singleton, or the finished
manners of Arthur Cressingham, I should
272 THE student's wife.
say tfiat ^detestable' was rather a stronger
term than ought, in justice, to be applied
" Oh, I have no doubt he is an angel,"
exclaimed Theresa, without looking up
from her book. " And, I am sure I am
delighted that you should be so pleased
with him. Is he fond of music ? ' '
" Not immoderately, I think ; but he
can sing very well himself. I dare say
you may hear him on Monday."
'' Speaking of that," said Theresa,
"mamma told me to ask you whether
you would mind having your harp taken
to the rectory on Monday evening. You
know my piano is not a beauty, and it
would do no justice to your playing."
"I should not mind it at all," replied
Caroline. " But, Theresa, I will have you
learn a little duet, to sing with me for this
occasion. If you really cannot stay to-day,
will you come to-morrow morning and
Tor a moment Theresa's face brightened
THE student's WIFE. 273
all over ; but the gloom quickly shaded it
again as she said —
'' You know I have scarcely any voice.
I should only make myseK ridiculous."
'* Not at all. I have two or three very
simple, easy pieces that we could sing
together. Indeed, I must have my way."
Theresa smiled again very faintly, and
was on the point of replying, when a loud
noise of barking dogs was heard below^ and
immediately after a quick impatient step
ascended the stairs, and was followed by
the abrupt, unceremonious entrance of
'' Carry," he exclaimed, on opening the
door, " I want you to come out with me
to a delicious walk I have discovered — so
quiet and I really beg you ten thou-
sand pardons — I thought you were alone."
Por once, Caroline was too confused to
decide immediately what she ought to do.
Her colour rose rapidly ; and, long before
she had in any degree regained her pre-
sence of mind, the intruder was gone ; and
274i THE student's wife.
Theresa's blue eyes were expressing volumes
" Original, indeed ! " said the latter, at
last, finding that Caroline was in no hurry
to speak ; " and friendly, too, it appears,
by his style of entering your private apart-
ments. I should have thought such free"
dom would have been particularly distaste-
ful to you — above all people."
"lam far from approving it," replied
Caroline, good humouredly; "but this is
the first offence, and I must teach Mr.
Philip better manners for the future. You
are not going already, Theresa?"
" Yes, I must. But I have one thing to
say to you first, Caroline. You have a
secret of mine — the only secret of my life.
I have never asked you to keep it to your
own breast; but I do so now. By the
friendship I am sure you feel for me — by
all the undeserved kindness you have
shown me — I implore you to give no hint
to any human being of what I confided to
you the day we sat together in the 'bennel.'
THE student's wij*e. 275
I shall not voluntarily speak on the same
subject again — even to you I regret deeply
ever ha^dng done so ; but the past cannot
be recalled, and I will trust to your honour
to conceal faithfully all you know of my
folly and weakness. Do not ask me any
questions. I have nothing to tell — no
complaints to make. Assure me only that
my secret is safe — that no consideration of
any kind whatever could induce you to
''Be at rest, Theresa," said Caroline,
soothingly ; "for neither to yourself nor
to any other person will I again open my
lips on the subject, without a special per-
mission from vou."
" Thank you. I am quite satisfied. And
now good bye till to-morrow."
Miss Berrington had scarcely left the
house when Philip Maranham again pre-
sented himself at Caroline's door, and
asked if he might now come in.
" If you msh to speak to me," said
the young lady, passing out into the cor-
276 TiTE student's wife.
ridor, "I will take a turn in tlie garden
with you. This apartment, I have before
told you, is sacred to myself and any
female friend I may choose to admit."
"I have, indeed, discovered that you
entertain angels there," replied Philip,
emphatically ; '' and I am, therefore, con-
strained to acknowledge the justice of my
" Well, shall we go down to the garden
Philip suddenly altered his manner,
and, laying his hand firmly on Caroline's
arm, said, almost savagely, — ''Not one
step shall you take from this spot, Caro-
line Ashton, until you have answered two
or three questions that I am about to ask
" Mr. Maranham — you hurt my arm !
Remove that iron grasp you have laid
upon it ; and if your questions are reason-
able and proper, I will answer them on
" Reasonable and proper ! Hear this
THE student's WIFE. 277
model of all propriety ! Pray, is it
against your code of reason and morality
to tell me the name of the young lady
I saw in your room about ten minutes
"Not in the slightest degree," replied
Caroline, smiling at her companion's sar-
castic humour. "The young lady's name
is Theresa Berrington. Do you admire
Admire her ! — hut, I dare say, you do
not. I never yet heard one woman
acknowledge the beauty of another. No
doubt that fair, shining angel you had
smuggled away so nicely m your blue-
beard chamber appears nothing more in
your eyes than a decent-looking country
girl; perhaps you consider her rather
plain than otherwise.''
" I consider her one of the loveliest
specimens of nature's handiwork," said
Caroline, with a little more dignity than
she had yet assumed. " But you have,
probably, some other questions to ask me,
"There, now — ^you are offended!'' ex-
claimed Philip; ''and, I suppose, I must
beg pardon for having done you an
injustice. But, in the name of all that is
mysterious, why — if you acknowledge the
divine beauty of your exquisite friend —
why, 1 say, have you never mentioned her
name, or family, or abode, to me before
*' I have spoken of her family and their
abode several times,'' Caroline answered,
with admirable patience. '' Miss Berring-
ton's father is the rector of the parish;
and it was to visit them that I went out
the evening of your arrival. If I have not
alluded to Theresa individually, it was
because I could not possibly conceive your
feeling any interest in a person you had
" But now that I have seen her, this
objection is done away with ; and you will
confer an inestimable benefit on me by
never speaking to me of anything or any-
THE student's WIFE. 279
Caroline looked earnestly at Philip for a
few seconds ; then she said, quietly —
*' How much reality and how much non-
sense is there in all tliis, Mr. Maranham ?"
*' Do you mean in my admiration of
" In the extravagant rhapsodies you are
uttering concerning her."
*' By heavens ! — you have no soul, or you
would not ask such a question, or doubt
that my whole heart and spirit are engaged
in the matter. Come, Caroline, let us be
friends again, and you will take me at
once — now — this minute — to call at the
Whatever emotions of pity or surprise
Caroline Ashton might have felt in listen-
ing to the uninvited confidences of !Mrs.
Forrest's nephew, she could not, at this
last request, forbear laughing outright.
'' Oh, laugh away," he said, passionately.
" It is so easy for you frozen-hearted beings
to mock the warm impulses of those in
whose breasts natm^e has kindled an ever-
gloTvdng fire. But I tell you, frankly, that
280 THE student's wife.
I am determined to know that exquisite,
divine Theresa, whether you introduce me
or not : so you will gain nothing by your
"I am really not aware of anything I
could gain" — retorted Caroline, with a
slight increase of colour — " by preventing
your acquaintance with Miss Berrington ;
and, to convince you that I have no such
desire, I beg you will be at home to-morrow
morning, about eleven o'clock, when my
friend Theresa is coming to take a singing
lesson. Now let me pass, if you please. I
can afford you no further information."
" You are not angry ?"
" Why should I be ? You do injustice
to yourself, and not to me, by exhibiting
petulance and want of moral discipline.
Another time, when you are in your right
senses, I may give you a piece of serious
and friendly advice ; at present it would
be misconstrued, as any explanation is
impossible. Now, good bye. I am going
to sit with your aunt for the rest of the
Theresa was punctual to her appoint-
ment on the following morning, and Philip
Maranham was introduced to her in due
form. Mrs. Porrest, who had heard some
of his ravings of the previous day, already
trembled in anticipation of an imprudent
attachment, and a still more imprudent
love match. She could not find it in her
heart to depreciate Theresa in any way;
but she did contrive to hint to her nepliew
the folly it would be to think seriously of
a girl without a penny, when he considered
the income his uncle had left him — wholly
inadequate for his individual maintenance.
But although Philip knew enough of
worldly matters to give assent to this rea-
soning, as an abstract principle, he was
quite incapable of using it in his own case
282 THE student's wife.
as a shield against the darts of passion-
He listened patiently to the gentle words
of his very gentle relative, kissed her soft,
white hand when she ceased to speak, and
assured her there was —
" Nothins half so sweet in life
As love's young dream."
Theresa had never looked more lovely
and attractive than she did on the morning
of her presentation to Philip Maranham.
The pensive, almost languid, air that had
lately replaced her joyous smiles suited well
her madonna style of beauty; and there
was such a total absence of all coquetry,
such a perfect indifference as to the effect
she might produce on the young, handsome
stranger, that Philip, wholly ignorant of
the source whence this msonciance arose,
felt convinced that the pure, faultless,
radiant creature of his secret imagination
stood, at length, in human form, before
his enraptured sight.
He was almost too agitated and delighted
THE student's avife. 283
to talk, though he did make one or two
efforts to engage his pale idol in some sort
of conversation; but Theresa answered
him absently, or in monosyllables, and he
soon abandoned the attempt, and seemed
contented to absorb every other faculty in
that of vision.
Caroline Ashton w^as far from an unin-
terested spectator of this scene, but she
knew it would be useless to interfere. She
seemed to feel, mdeed, with that singular
prescience which is sometimes granted to
thoughtful persons at particular epochs
of then' lives, that any effort to stem the
impetuosity of the torrent that had so
abruptly broken forth, would be dangerous
as well as idle, — that a fiery course of
passion was destined to be run, — and that
her part in the matter could only be of a
silent and unobtrusive character.
At present she must watch and listen,
whether it was agreeable to her or not.
Philip seemed to be unconscious of her
very existence, as well as of that of every
284 THE student's wife.
other being in the world, except Theresa
Berrington. The latter was evidently far
from appreciating this distinction as it
deserved ; and when Tantalus and Charon
rushed suddenly from the lawn into the
parlour, she devoted all her attention to
them, and appeared really glad of an
excuse for remaining silent.
But Philip would not let her escape
even now. After gazing for a few minutes
at the pretty group formed by Theresa and
the two huge dogs at play together, he
said abruptly — " You are not, then, afraid
of those rude animals, Miss Berrington ?"
" Afraid ! Oh, no. I love all kinds of
dumb creatures; and these appear as
good-tempered as they are beautiful."
" Yes, I have tamed them pretty well ;
but Miss Ashton and my aunt are both
timid with them still. You ought to
come oftener, and set them a braver
"Theresa has been indeed a deserter
of late," said Mrs. Porrest, who had
THE student's WIFE. 285
entered in time to hear this last observa-
tion. " She used to be my constant
" But you have others now," replied
Theresa : '* and my duties are also mul-
tiplied since then. I could scarcely get
away for an hour this morning."
" And we are wasting it all in idle chit
chat," exclaimed Caroline, starting up
fi'om her dra\^'ing table. " Come, Mr.
Maranham, I must turn you and your
dogs out of the room, unless any of you
wish to assist at our singing lesson."
"Oh, do let me stay," pleaded Philip,
turning his fine, expressive eyes from
Caroline to Theresa, in a most beseech-
ing manner. " I will be so quiet, you
shall not know I am in the room ; and,
upon my soul, I have no idea what to
do with myself, if vou send me awav."
" Nevertheless, we must have the bar-
barity to do it," said Caroline, discovering,
from Theresa's face, that she did not want
him with them ; " and if you go at once,
286 THE student's wife.
we will, perhaps, suffer you to walk part
of the way back to the rectory with us,
as I intend accompanying Miss Berring-
ton when the lesson is over.'*
Philip's eyes sparkled at this promise,
and, with one more longing, lingering
gaze at the object of his sudden admira-
tion, he whistled to his dogs, and, with
Mrs. Porrest, passed out upon the lawn.
*' How do you like him, Theresa?" said
Miss Ashton, when they were quite alone.
" Don't say you have had no time to form
an opinion, because I am certain that you
have formed one."
" Yes, it is true. I do not admire Mr.
Maranham at all."
" What fault do you find with him ?"
" He does not interest me in the slightest
degree. I cannot endure to hear a young
man say he does not know what to do with
himself. It is a sign of an unoccupied, if
not a shallow, mind."
*" Not always, Theresa ; but what is your
next charge against Philip Maranham ?
THE STUDENT'S WIFE. 287
" He stares at one so perseveringly — not
to say rudely. Nobody could like such
close observation from a stranger.''
" He admires you excessively, Theresa.'*
*' Does he ? I am sorry for it. He
ought to admire you."
" Because your heart is still light and
free; therefore, capable of being won."
" And may not yours be light and free
again some day, Theresa ? — and if so, may
not Philip Maranham win it ?"
"Never!" replied Theresa, firmly and
emphatically. "My self-knowledge is
limited enough, I do not doubt ; but it
extends to the point of this conviction, that
I could as easily fall in love with the man
in the moon, as with this fascinating Mr.
"Indeed," said Caroline, shortly. "Then
now let us proceed to our singing lesson."
Theresa took consideral)le pains with
her part of the duet, and Caroline assured
her pupil, at the conclusion of the lesson,
288 THE STUDENT'S WIEE.
that she had no reason to be ashamed of
the voice which nature had bestowed upon
her, cultivation alone being required to
render it a most attractive one.
" And you will come frequently to
practise with me, will you not ?" she said,
as Theresa put away the music books and
closed the piano.
" Perhaps I may avail myself of your
kindness,'' was the somewhat hesitating
reply ; "but I will tell you after Monday.
Must we have Mr. Maranham to walk
with us now?"
'^ Yes, I promised him he should go.
You are hard upon this young man, The-
" And you are singularly indulgent, I
think ; so one will balance the other."
Caroline left the room quickly to put
on her bonnet, and Philip joined them, a
few minutes later, in the garden.
As they passed a white rose tree, where a
single full-blown flower raised its fair head
proudly amidst the fast -withering leaves
THE student's WIFE. 289
around, Mr. Maranliam took out his pen-
knife, and carefully severing this beautiful
memorial of fading summer from its stem,
presented it, somewhat timidly, to Theresa.
*' Thank vou," she said, coldly. "It is
a beautiful flower ; but you must find one
for Miss Ashton, or I cannot accept this."
"There are no more roses,'' replied
Philip, evidently hurt at her ungracious-
ness. " I will find another flower for
"You are mistaken," rejoined Theresa,
stooping down and exhibiting a tiny bud,
half hidden amongst the luxuriant and
drooping foliage. Here is one which,
though born out of season, will bloom
freshly when this you have plucked for me
is scattered to the Avinds of heaven."
"You are growing poetical, dear Theresa,"
said Caroline, as she took from Philip's
hand the still green bud he offered with so
little empressement ; and tlien, with a calm
smile of thanks to the donor, she led the
way through the littla gate into the lane.
VOL. I. o
290 THE student's wife.
The walk to the rectory was a very short
one; and, although Philip was not much
indebted to the conversational powers of
either of his companions, he expressed
unbounded regret when Theresa's home
appeared in sight, and told the latter, at
parting, that he should count the minutes
until Monday, when he hoped to find her
kinder to him than she had been to-day.
As Theresa shook hands with Caroline,
the rose Philip had given her — already
shaken by the wind — fell to pieces, and
left the bare stalk alone in her possession.
'' I told you how it would be," she said,
half smiling, and glancing at Caroline's
still uninjured bud. "The sun had forced
mine into premature bloom, and it has
withered at a breath. Yours was nou-
rished in the cool shade, and it will have
a long and vigorous life. Good bye, both
of you : we shall meet on Monday."
"Do you wish to extend our walk, or
shall we go home at once ?" said Caroline,
as they turned away from the rectory gate ;
" I will do whichever you prefer."
THE student's WIFE. 291
She spoke very kindly and softly, as if
she had really commenced her patient,
sisterly office, and Avas ready to sympathize,
heart and soul, with her wayward com-
" Take me where you like. I care for
nothing now," he answered, passionately;
then adding, the next moment, " Don't let
me be such a brute to you, Caroline ; leave
me to myself; I don't know what I say."
^* Do you wish to be alone ?"
'' No ; but I have no right to bore you
with my ill humours. I have a bad dis-
position ; I am selfish and impatient. You
will soon be altogether disgusted Avith me,
if you see into the inner sanctuary of my
unregulated, evil heart."
*' But I thought I was to be your friend,
your sister ; and having accepted the office,
I shall not shrink from its duties."
" But they will weary you to death ; you
will sink under the heavy burden."
*' I think not. At any rate, I am pre.
pared to make the trial."
" Well, you shall, then. I will speak my
292 THE student's wife.
thoughts aloud. And to begin — I am
madly in love with Theresa Berriugton."
''I know it."
" No, you don't. You see that I admire
her : you hear the few words of homa^^e
that rise spontaneously, and bubble over
the foaming sea of passion that lies beneath;
but you know no more of the wild love I
feel for her than you do of the treasures
that rest for ever in the unfathomable
depths of ocean. Pshaw ! what should a
young lady, fresh from Eairiield House,
Kensington, know of sT!tch love as this ?"
" I do not even believe in its existence,"
said Caroline, quietly.
" What do you mean ? Did you not
say, just now, that you knew I loved Miss
" I said I knew that you were in love
with her; but I have two very distinct
meanings for ' loving' and ' being in love.'
The first can result only from an intimate
knowledge of the beloved object, and a
keen appreciation of certain endearing
qualities that you have — or fancy you
THE student's WIFE. 293
have — discovered in her. The last may
be forced into existence in an hour hy the
effect of mere physical beauty on an
inflammable imagination — and all the fine
sounding words about foaming seas of
passion, and such like, belong not to this
passion itself, but are a natural appendage
to the excitable imagination, in which the
sentiment has arisen."
"Humph!" said Philip, turning sud-
denly to the speaker : " this is pretty well,
I think, for a school girl. But, I presume,
you will not disj)ute that ' being in love'
may lead, in course of time, to 'loving;'
that it is, indeed, a formidable step in that
" Possibly it may be, and, with you, I
do not doubt that it is ; therefore, in my
capacity of sisterly adviser, I would seri-
ously entreat of you to crush, vrith a strong
hand and fu'm will, anv feelius^s bevond
those of the simplest friendliness that you
now entertain for Theresa Berrin2:ton.
The task I recommend cannot be such
a very difiicult one at present; but it
294 THE student's wife.
may become one of impossibility, if long
''Excellent and valuable advice," said
Philip ; " but there are two reasons against
my following it — one is, that I could not,
if I would; and the other, that I would
not, if I could."
" You like suffering, then, I presume ?"
" Not more than most people ; but I see
no gigantic cause opposing itself against
my indulging in a passion for Miss Ber-
rington. She is not engaged, is she?"
" I believe not."
" Then, why should I not love her, and
try, at least, in all humility, to gain her
'' You scorn my advice."
" Only because I cannot discover on
what grounds it is offered. My aunt has
probably infected you with her fears about
our poverty ; but I tell you I laugh at
these. Love would more than atone to
me for the few luxuries I might have to
dispense with. Oh, Caroline!" — and his
voice suddenly changed to one of deep and
THE student's WIFE. 295
passionate sadness, while he laid his hand
on the passive arm of his companion — " Oh,
Caroline I do not dissuade me from seeking
earth's brightest gift. If you knew how
lonely and desolate I sometimes feel, how
my heart pants for a true and fixed affec-
tion — for a love that no time or circum-
stance could change — for the sympathy
and tenderness of a pure, bright angel, such
as Theresa appears to me, — you would pass
over, and look beyond the cold dictates of
worldly prudence, and assist me with all
your soul in the attainment of this blessed
Caroline remained silent. What more,
ind^^ed, could she urge, without betraying
the secret she was so solemnly pledged to
conceal ? She would have saved Philip,
had it been in her power ; but it seemed
as if fate was against him.
" You do not answer," he said, at length.
" You are wearying already of my confi-
" I am not," she forcibly replied. " I am
thinking how I can best befriend you."
296 THE student's wife.
" Dear, kind Caroline ! And, what an
ungrateful idiot I have been to you."
With a sudden impulse of repentance or
gratitude, he seized the hand that was
then resting quietly on his arm, and
attempted to draw it to his lips ; but Caro-
line resisted even this familiarity.
"I do not require any gratitude, Mr.
Maranham; nor — nor" — she continued,
with unusual hesitation and embarrass-
ment — nor do I wish for this."
"Oh, I beg your pardon I" he replied,
quickly, almost thro^A ing aAvay the hand he
had taken. " I had forgotten for the
moment that I was in companionship with
a young lady from Pairfield House. Por
pity's sake let us return home, or I may
be committing some other act of indis-
END OE VOL. I.
T. C. Newby, Printer, 30, Welbeck-street, Cavendish-square.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA