STAR IN THE DESERT;
A TBAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM,
THE CLOUD WITH THE SILVER LINING,
BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE;
JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY.
htncrd aeording to Act of Congrs, In the yer 188, by
JAMES MUNROr AND COMPANY,
In the Clrk's OMoe of the Ditrit Court of the District of MnsehbuMtts.
PRINTD TB JOIN POD AND COMPArT.
MY DEAR FATHER
fpiis litti tall
IS DEDICATED BY
HIS AFFECTIONATE CHILD.
THE STAR IN THE DESERT.
"IT's coming on to blow -and such a keen
cold wind, Will dear, do have it o ? "
"Well! go on then, only make haste," and
the little round fat woman, thus replied to, stood
on tip-toe and wound a worsted handkerchief
about the neck of her husband; receiving in re
turn a salute, which echoed through the sall
"Now then, old girl, my whip and gloves;
that's right-you're a regular trump-God
bless you, -home to supper, a good one, mind.
What's it to be, eh ? "
"You go away and don't ask questions, Sir,
don't I always give you a good one ? "
"You do, you do, good bye," and with one
THB STAB IN
more hearty kiss, the husband departed; his
little wife watching him, till at the end of the long
lane, through which he rode, he and his pony
looked a mere speck: then, with a slight shudder
at the cold, she re-entered the little room, which
served them for parlor and kitchen, and making
up the fire, sat down to work.
Will Davis and his wife might well have earned
the flitch of bacon; for a more loving, affection-
ate couple never lived. They were cited as
examples for miles round, and the wish bestowed
on every youthful couple was, that they might be
as happy as the Davises.
They kept the pretty vine-covered lodge of
a large mansion, standing in one of England's
beautiful Southern Counties, Will acting as head
gardener to the rich owner. His own rough,
honest face, and the fat, rosy, dimpled one of his
wife, bespoke their measureless content, and told
A custom formerly prevailed at Dunmoro, in Essex
County, England, of giving a fitch of bacon to any married
man or woman who would swear before the prior, and con-
vent, and whole town, that neither of them, in a year and a
day, either sleeping or waking, repented of their marriage.
of their calm, regular, happy life. One little tiny
charge, some three months old, was all that
divided Lucy's heart with her husband, to whom
it bore a ludicrous resemblance ; and with a good
salary, and this pretty home, they would have
been puzzled, as Lucy often said, to think of any
thing they wanted. How strange and sad the
contrast between that "rich owner" and them-
With a large establishment of servants, he lived
alone in that great house; a young man too, but
some thirty years had passed over his head, and
yet the world and its gaieties appeared to have no
charms for him, -seldom was a smile seen on his
handsome face. I say handsome, but there was
an expression in it, which marred its beauty; a
painful expression on any face, much more on a
young one: and those who knew him well, said it
was the true index of his mind, expressed but
too well the fact that he had no Belief.
He called himself a Philosopher!-and tried
to shut out from his soul the Light, which could
alone guide him in safety through this world's
THE BTAB IN
shoals and quicksands. He had forged for him-
self fetters of iron, which were a burdensome
weight to carry; and truly, that man, favored
alike by nature and fortune, stood there an object
alone of pity, for his soul was dark within him.
But few, very few, knew the story of his life,
or guessed at the reason of his gloom and retire-
ment; and only wondered that one so rich and
prosperous should seem so sad. But he had wil-
fully shut out from him all that was bright and
loving in this world, and he believed in no other.
His indomitable pride -pride of birth and dis-
tinction, pride which opposed itself against advice
from any one, and led him obstinately to pursue
the bent of his own inclination had also helped
to make him wretched and lonely, and he lived in
that stately home less to be envied than the
poorest man on his estate.
Notwithstanding his strange opinions and way
of life, all in the neighborhood spoke well of him;
for to'all he was kind and courteous, a thorough
gentleman the peasant girl received as much
respect from him as the titled lady, no provocation
ever drew from him a harsh or angry word, and
his butler had strict instructions never to mend
away unassisted or unheard, any poor applicant
who came to his door; but he could never be in-
duced to help one more than another, never would
listen to assurances that one was better than
another, and deserved more to be assisted; y
mention of goodness served but to summon to his
lip a cold satirical smile, and all detraction the
same reply,-"they re all alike;-if they're
in need, help them." Such was the character
of Sir Arthur Atherstone, honest Will Davi's
But we have left Will trotting on his pony
down the long lane; it had a turning, like most
long las, and that brought him on to a high
road, with a low hedge on either side, and a mas
nificent view commanding a wide extent of coun-
try, with a peep at the deep blue sea, now
sparkling in the light of the noon-day sun, which
gleaming on the swelling sails of some vessel,
made it look like a white bird with expanded
wings floating on the glistening waters.
THB STAB II
Will, next to his wife and child, loved his pony,
and on these journies into the neighboring town,
where she carried him so bravely about once a
fortnight, and indeed whenever he mounted her,
he made a practice of enlivening the road by
conversing with her; and Jenny would prick up
her ears and lift up her feet, and trot away with
him as fast again at the first sound of his cheerful
So ho, my little woman," he said, as he
turned on to the road aforesaid,-"now for it,
go away with you if there ever was a sieve of
corn waiting for a pony, there is one today at the
Rising Sun for you -now then, what are you
looking at? -you've lived all this time in the
world and not know a milestone when you see it;
five miles and a half before there's a hope of
that corn, so now I tell you. You stupid I'm not
going down there Oh yes, very fine indeed, so
you thought you were only going to Firley, did
you? Oh! hav'nt you made a mistake I say,
if you go at such a pace you'll be there before I
shall, I know you will, you jade you. I'm much
obliged to you, but this is not the Rising Sun," he
continued, as the little animal attempted to stop
before a small road-side inn, beneath the porch of
which the fat landlord was smoking a quiet pipe;
but he let her have her way as he mostly did, and
laying the reins on her neck, allowed her to walk
to the horse-trough and dip her nose in the fresh
Good morrow, Master Davis," said mine host,
in a rich oily voice which seemed to come out of
his large double chin.
"How's yourself, Master Snelling ? "
"Hearty, Sir, hearty-glass of home-brewed,
eh ? cold morning."
"Well, I don't mind if I do -your fault
Jenny -mem. one feed less."
The landlord rolled into the bar and soon came
out panting, with foaming horn of ale. With a
nod of the head, which meant many a good wish,
Will tossed it off, paid his reckoning, and was soo
going again at a brisk trot along the road.
Well, I would stare at that now Jenny, never
saw an old woman in a red cloak did you?-
Tra TARK I
Hollao," he called out, pulling up as he came
near her, how are you, Dame."
"Eh, who is it?" she asked, shading her
eyes, and looking up at him. "Oh, Master
Davis, how be you, my eyes is so bad, I scarce
knows any one now; how's your good missis "
Fresh as a daisy -what can I do for you in
the town, eh?"
"Nothing, thank you, I was there myself a
Saturday. I'm a going up now to see Betsy, she
be took bad with a chill, and poor creature her
hands is full with so many children,-it be a
poor look out for her bean't it "
"Yes, that it is, I wish her better,-good
"Good day, Master Davis lor, how that
little thing do go," she aid to herself with a low
lagh, as at Will's command Jenny flew forward,
-and soon the five miles and a half were com-
passed, and Jenny stood with her master before
the Rising Sun.
Some few minutes after Will's departure, a
sound from a crib by the fireside, disturbed Lucy
from her work; she lifted her little nursing from
its bed, and sitting in the low chair, held the
" wee thing in her arms and sung to it in a low,
loving voice, softly rocking it backwards and for-
wards till again it sunk into its sweet dreamless
sleep, but she did not put it back in the cradle,
she was so happy holding it, gaming at its tiny
features, so pleased and proud at their close
resemblance to Will.
A tap at the door compelled her at length to
rise, and throwing a shawl over the child, she
opened it, and admitted a woman; who formed a
strange contrast to herself, for she was as thin as
Lucy was fat, as gloomy-looking as she was bright
"Oh! Mrs. Davis, I've come to ask if you'll
lend me one of your washing-tube, I've got such a
wash this week."
Oh! willingly Mrs. Grimley, I'm glad to hear
"Glad!--it's a'most killing me, but there,
that would be a good thing if it did it outright,
THE STAR IN
Why don't talk so, I'm sure you've no cause
to be so down-hearted Mrs. Grimley."
"Ah! we all knows our own troubles best-
Davis out ?"
"Yes, he's gone to Leighton."
"He goes there pretty often, don't he ?"
"About once a fortnight, I think."
"And stops all day ?"
"Why yes, it's a long way, and he has such a
deal to do."
Umph! dull enough for you."
"Oh! bless.you, I'm not dull, the moment
he's gone I'm thinking of his coming back, and
that passes the time away."
Well, I wonder you don't go with him some-
times; don't he never ask you ?"
No, he doesn't want me," said the merry
laughing little woman.
"Ah that's just it, I believe -well it ain't
no business of mine, but it strikes me I should like
to know what my husband had got after, going
and stopping away whole days; but there, I've
lived a bit longer than you, and seen more may
I take the tub ?"
Oh! yes, certainly."
The woman took it from the back kitchen where
it was kept, and departed; but the shadow of her
presence remained on Lucy's heart.
She seated herself in that low chair and began
to think what did take Will to town so often ?
He certainly never did tell her, nor offer to take
her with him, though there was a cart in the shed
-why was he so long gone, it was not so very
far -he always went to the same inn, he had told
her that was it any one there ? And then the
flush of shame mounted to her forehead, to think
she could suspect her kind, loving, honest hus-
band, and giving her head a little shake, as
though to shake out of it such unworthy thoughts,
"Now this is the fruit of idleness, if I had
been busy I couldn't have sat here thinking such
nonsense. Mother says 'tis the root of all evil,
and so it is: I'll go to work directly," and laying
her child softly, in its cradle, Lucy took up her
work and with a bright smile on her comely face,
began merrily to sing an old country ditty, stitch-
THE STAR IN
ing almost in time to its lively measure-the
shadow had departed but she was not long to
be left undisturbed; another knock at the door
called her to open it, and this time to no less a
person than Sir Arthur Atherstone.
I am sorry to disturb you Mrs. Davis, is your
husband within ? "
No, Sir, he is not, he's gone to Leighton."
"Is he, what for?"
I don't know, Sir," she answered; and again
the banished thought seemed inclined to return.
"I thought it was for you, Sir."
"No, I have had no occasion to send him.
When do you expect him back ?"
Not until the evening, Sir."
"Indeed! well, never mind, I will not
further interrupt you Mrs. Davis; perhaps you
will kindly send him to me when he does return:"
and touching the brim of his hat in response to
Lucy's courtesy, he walked away, whistling to his
large bloodhound who had accompanied him, and
who had been racing round the small garden with
a vague reminiscence of a bone he had once found
there, very much to the discomfiture of a small
white kitten, who, with her back in a perfect arch,
and the fur sticking up like chevcau defrias, was
spitting her spite at the intruder, on whom her in-
dignation was entirely thrown away.
Lucy went back to her seat, and to her work,
but the song was silenced, she worked on, but she
neither sung nor smiled. Every one seemed to
think it odd that Will was gone and for so long
too--it had never seemed so long before, he
had so often been, and the hours had flown
quickly, but now, how tedious they seemed. The
baby awoke and cried, she took it up quite
pettishly, not singing to it and rocking it as usual;
it cried on,. and its wailing cry touched the
mother's heart at last, and a smile stole over her
clouded face, and she held it to her more fondly,
and nursed it tenderly till its cry was silenced,
and again it slumbered peacefully.
Again her better self triumphed, and she deter-
mined not to be so childish as to distress herself
with suspicions which had no foundation, or she
should be ashamed, when he did come, to meet
THE STAR IN
her husband, and return his kind and loving wel-
come; but with all her efforts the hours did seem
long, and she was glad when the light began to
fade, and she felt that the first clouded day of her
wedded life was passing away. She busied her-
self now in getting his supper, laying the cloth,
putting his slippers to the fire, and drawing round
his own arm-chair; all little, simple, but touching
evidences that the absent one had been loved and
At length, the sharp ring of a horse's hoof, and
a loud clear voice, summoned Lucy to the door,
and there was Will himself. With a glad smile
she ran towards the gate, and then perceived,
that he had a large bundle before him on the sad-
dle, which he held with great care as he alighted,
and asking his wife to draw the pony's rein
through the gate while he went into the house, he
walked in, carrying the bundle, Lucy following
"Well, my dear," he said, "I have brought
you a present."
La! Will dear, have you, how kind of you!"
"Yes, I don't know whether you'll like it
"I shall be sure to like it."
"Give me a chair then," and seating himself,
he laid the bundle on the table, and removing the
covering, revealed to his wife's astonished gaze, a
beautiful sleeping child, some twelve or fourteen
"Why, my gracious, Will- what do you
mean," she exclaimed,-" a present for me."
"Yes, little woman, is'nt it pretty too."
"It's lovely, but I don't understand Will, what
does it mean ?" a vision of Mrs. Grimley rose
to her mind, and tears filled her eyes, as she
raised them inquiringly to her husband's face.
"Lucy," he said very seriously, taking her
hand, "you're a good, true-hearted, loving little
wife to me; to show that love more than you
have ever done, you must take care of this poor
infant, with your own child, and care for its
health and comfort as well, and what will perhaps
be more difficult, ask no questions. Since we
have been man and wife I have never had a secret
THE STAR IN
from you; this is not mine, I must keep it faith-
The tears, which had trembled in her eyes, fell
fast as her husband spoke, and drawing her hand
angrily away, she said, it was very hard upon
her, very unfair, and she wouldn't touch the brat
unless she knew all about it, that she wouldn't."
Lucy," again he said, and still very gently,
very seriously, don't you recollect when Martin
Grey went to sea, he left in our charge a sum of
money for his old mother if he died ; he was gone
twelve months, and when he came back we gave
it him, every farthing, in the same bag he'd put
it in, didn't we ?"
Of course we did."
Would you have thought it wicked to take
that money ?"
Of course, Will, what nonsense are you talk-
It was a sacred charge; we had promised to
guard it carefully, Lucy, and we did. I have
now given into my charge a secret, which I have
promised to keep; and as faithfully as I kept that
gold, I will. It is not the value of the charge,
but the promise to take care of it, that should
make it sacred in our eyes; if my heart were laid
open before your face now, there's not a thought
in it I should blush for you to see: there's nothing
in it Lucy, but love for you and our little one ; I
never deceived any one in my life, it is'nt likely
I should begin with you, will you trust me ? "
"I will, indeed I will; I do believe you,
honestly I do. I have been a silly little naughty
woman all day," she said, "but I'm quite good
now, as the children say; kiss me Willie, and you
shall see if I'm not."
He did kiss her, with all the warmth of his
honest heart, and that night the little stranger
shared her bed, and her own child slept in its crib
by her side.
In a small, but prettily furnished room in the
market-town of Leighton, at the precise hour in
which Will reached home with the baby, a young
and very pretty woman is seated over the bright
little fire; her pale cheek resting on her hand,
gazing into the glowing coals as though she was
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reading in them her destiny. Her soft blue eyes
are heavy and swollen from excessive weeping,
her fair hair hangs in disorder about her face, and
her whole appearance gives evidence of that
abandonment to grief, which has made her forget-
ful of all but that grief.
In complete contrast to her is her companion, a
woman some fifty or sixty years of age, who at the
other side of the fire is busily employed at her
needle. On her calm and placid features you
can read nothing but content, no emotion seems
ever to have disturbed her in her monotonous and
regular life, she looks the very embodiment of
peace; her scrupulously neat, simple dress, her
dark brown hair without a single silver one
amongst it, shining beneath a close lace cap, her
industry and calm happy looks, are, as I have
said, singularly contrasted by the beautiful, but
hopelessly wretched looking girl who is with her.
There has been for a long time silence in the
room, no sound but the ticking of the fire and the
click of the busy needle. At length, the patient
"Would it not be better to employ yourself,
I cannot, I can do nothing but think whether
I have done right or not."
"But it seems to me that is rather useless,
Effie, now it is done."
"But do you think it is right ?"
"I cannot be a judge, we are so very different
that we could never act alike, and so we cannot
think alike; but your conscience telling you, you
have done it with the best motive, should be your
support and consolation."
Any one but Magdalen Gray would have been
tired of repeating this, for she had been asked
fifty times the same question, and had as often
given the same reply; she could not vary it, for
she had no other idea upon the subject.
"Oh! how often do I wish I were like you
Cousin Magdalen, so calm, so passionless; if you
only knew half what I suffered, it would make
your heart ache; but you can never know, and
so you can never compassionate me."
"I am very sorry you are unhappy my dear
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Effie," answered Magdalen, measuring one piece
of work against another with great exactness.
"I know you are, you feel for me, but not with
me; you are sorry that I cannot smile, that I
cannot take amusement in passing things, cannot
work or read, in short, be happy as you are; but
you do not feel with me the agony of a hopeless
love, the misery of being separated from the little
creature that so lately lay upon my heart, and
made life endurable: the torture of my false
position, all, all which is killing me. You cannot
understand it, and there are times when I yearn
for some sympathizing nature which could under-
stand and would feel for me."
There was then, a slight, almost impercepti-
ble change in the placid face of the woman she
addressed, but she answered with the same
I wish I were more comfort to you, Effie, I
am sure, but I fear I cannot be, and you must
strive to content yourself .with the use I am to
you, the protection which my age affords you, and
the home my little cottage provides you."
All true, quite true, I know I seem to you un-
grateful, but I am not really, dear Magdalen, but
I am so very wretched. Oh! why was I not left
a little light hearted, ignorant child in the station
where God had placed me, I should now have
been the happy, honored wife of some honest
laborer, and not the wretched, hopeless, aimless
thing I am: the sight of Will Davis made my
heart bound, and carried me back to those sweet
childish days, when he met me at our little wicket
gate, and carrying my books went with me to old
Dame Bartlett's school--why was I ever taught
more than she could teach me- what has my
knowledge brought me, but an endless weight of
If you employed the learning you have had
in some way, it would help you to bear your sor-
row better; idly brooding on what there is no
preventing, is sure to increase rather than lessen
your grief, Effie."
Employment is always your song," answered
the poor girl pettishly, "and I have none, and
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could not do it if I had; my thoughts will only
dwell on one subject, so it is useless talking."
She rose, as if to avoid further chance of con-
versation, and went into a small inner room which
served her as a sleeping apartment. It was
almost dark there, save the sickly gas-light from
the street, which just served to make the objects
in the room visible. Close by the bedside was a
child's cot, a little worsted sock was all that now
lay upon the coverlet: poor Effe snatched it up,
and kissing it as passionately as she should have
done the little form, that had lain there a few
short hours before, wept again as though her very
heart would burst.
That you may better understand her sorrow,
and be able to sympathize with it, I must carry
you back to those childish days she has spoken of,
and trace that poor weeping girl's history to the
She was the only daughter of a poor laboring
man in a small village in Devonshire, in which
same village Will Davis was born; the cottages
stood near each other, and with the rest of the
village children they attended the Dame's school.
With all the lovely little Effie was a favorite, but
none loved her better than honest Will, and they
were constant companions, though he was many
years her senior. When she was about twelve
her father died, and she and her mother were
kindly taken into the Squire's house, for her
mother had been his wife's nurse; they could not
bear that she should want, and so gave her the
name and salary of housekeeper, that she might
not feel to be living on charity, and insisted on
her little girl coming too.
Will was sadly distressed at this change, for
he thought how rarely he should see his darling
little playmate now, and that in her new grand
home she would forget him; but still more was he
disturbed when he learned that the great lady had
taken such a fancy to the child, that she being
childless, was going to adopt her, and that she
was to be sent to a first rate London school to be
educated. But Efie had not yet forgotten Will,
and she stole out in the twilight of a Summer's
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evening to the shrubbery-gate, to bid an affection-
ate farewell to the companion of so many happy
hours, between whom and herself a mighty barrier
was now to be raised.
A few years were quickly gone, and, at the age
of seventeen, Effie Gray was an orphan, but re-
ceiving respect and attention from a household of
servants as the adopted daughter of their mistress,
and admiration and praise for her beauty and
talents, from the visitors who frequented the
house. What a change for the poor cottager's
daughter! She was not proud with all this, her
warm, enthusiastic, loving nature was unchanged,
and on her return to the village, she sought out
her old companions, but those she cared the most
for were gone, and amongst them Will Davis.
The house was full of guests, it was lovely
Summer weather, and her benefactress wished to
see the effect her beautiful protegee would cause.
She was well satisfied, for the lovely and graceful
Effie was the theme of conversation. Among the
visitors was one whose handsome person, and de-
lightful manners, claimed from Effie more attention
than she accorded to any other. When he spoke
she listened eagerly, drinking in each sound of his
low sweet voice; every fancy that he expressed
made an indelible impression on her mind, and
she found herself acting in accordance with his
For him, the rich masses of her golden hair,
were taken from their braids and suffered to fall
in graceful curls to her waist; and she would not
have exchanged a diadem for the smile of ap-
proval, he accorded to this yielding to his taste -
for him, the flowery Italian music, it had caused
her hours of labor to learn, was replaced by Eng-
lish ballads, which she sang with touching ex-
pression, while he, stood beside her and listened.
No one was surprised, therefore, that she ac-
cepted, though many wondered, that he offered
her his hand and heart; and soon the marriage
bells rang a merry peal for the wedding of the
once poor little Effie Gray, with the rich and
noble Sir Arthur Atherstone.
The wedding was over, and the elegant carriage
with its high-bred horses had borne the happy
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couple away; and yet she, who had wrought all
this change for Effie, felt a strong presentiment of
evil, and was weeping in her own room. The
young girl had wound herself about her heart until
she loved her as tenderly as though she had been
her own, so tenderly that she had not had the
moral courage to dash the cup of happiness from
her lips, even though she feared there might be
poison in it, which one word of her's might have
She knew the extraordinary pride of Sir
Arthur, knew that he would rather die than marry
beneath him, he had often said so; and yet she
had permitted him blindly to love and marry the
daughter of a common laborer, believing that the
young and lovely creature, who had so fascinated
him, was a relation of her own.
In her parting words she impressed on Effie the
necessity of secrecy respecting her origin, leading
her to believe that Sir Arthur knew it, but did
not like it noticed.
Poor simple hearted Effie readily promised this,
little dreaming of the precipice on which she
stood; she knew he loved her, that he had told
her so, that he had asked her to be his wife, could
there be any sorrow after that!
Well for the kind but ill-judging protectress
who now wept such bitter tears for her, that death
closed her eyes ere she saw the misery she had
entailed on that hapless girl.
An accident revealed the secret of her birth
after a few months of happiness, which seemed
like a dream, and the only link that thus remained
of that happy past, was her wedding ring, and a
letter which, with eyes nearly starting from their
sockets, she read again and again almost without
I regret deeply that you should in conjunction
with others, have practised on me the gross deceit
with which I have just become acquainted, as it
entails while we live, wretchedness for one, per-
haps both of us. Fool that I was to be lured
from my own preconceived notions by your lovely
face, tempted to believe that goodness was some-
thing more than a name, but the weak delusion
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has passed away; you have deceived me for a
position and a title I suppose, but you are very
young, and to be pitied rather than blamed:
others who knew how strongly I felt on this point
are far more culpable. But, for both our sakes,
we must part, Effie, now and forever. I shall
live on the hope that the eternal oblivion of the
grave will soon come to blot out your memory,
which till then with its fair vision of bliss must
ever haunt me. By the world's laws you are my
wife, I, therefore, settle on you an income which
will place you far above the reach of want, but if
you act at all in accordance with my wish you will
drop my name, or at least the title, but this I do
not command, I simply ask.
Should you have any wish to express, address
me at my Lawyer's, he will always know where I
am, and I will fulfil it to the letter, so that it
trench not on my determination, never to see you
Your most miserable
Poor girl! poor child almost, who would not
pity thee in thine agony of grief, but with clasped
hands and streaming eyes, she kneels to One
whose ears are open to the prayers of the orphan'
whose pity is as measureless as His power; and
she, the young deserted wife, is calmer, and bet-
ter able to bear this heavy sorrow, than he who
has deserted her, and who in the strength of his
own pride has called on no divine assistance to
support and comfort him.
Where to go, or what to do, she scarcely knew,
and whether to answer this cruel letter or no, she
could not quite decide. A thousand different
ideas flashed through her mind, but at length she
determined merely to send him a few words in
reply, and at once seek out the only relative she
had in the world, a cousin of her father's, an,
thenceforward with her, in close retirement, pass
the remainder of her days; dropping, as her hus-
band wished, his name and title, and calling
herself Mrs. Gray.
Tears, actual tears stood in the proud man's
eyes, as he read the simple words she sent him: -
THEB TAR IN
Arthur, may the God I love and trust, and
who is supporting me in this fearful hour, forgive
you as I do.
Yes, not the least portion of her trial was the
knowledge which had been drawing on her by de-
grees, but which she had tried to shut her eyes
to, the awful knowledge that her husband was an
unbeliever, -that he had stood at the altar by
her side, only in conformity with the world's laws,
and that he had truly parted with her now for-
ever,-for he had no hope or belief in another
and better world. This was indeed an agonizing
conviction, and she could not but consider, that
she was thus punished for her inattention to the
Apostolic injunction, "be not unequally yoked
together with unbelievers." This, the most im-
portant consideration, which should have in-
fluenced her choice of the being to whom-she
entrusted her happiness, had been overlooked and
forgotten by the young and loving girl; and it
was only when some passing allusion to the cere-
mony called forth from her husband a smile and
sneer, that the fatal truth began to dawn on her,
which his conduct and his letter now so fatally
But the orphan's prayer for advice, assistance
and direction was heard and answered, and the
kind relative she addressed offered to dismiss the
family, who were boarding with her, and take
Effie as an-inmate instead; this arrangement was
soon made, and Effie found herself in a humble
but pretty home, with the impassive quiet Mag-
dalen Gray for a companion.
She had moved in a better station of life than
Effie's parents, for her family had realized a small
independence in trade, which had enabled them
to give to this their only child a tolerable edua-
tion, and leave her sufficiently well provided for;
but her nature was most opposed to that of her
young and beautiful cousin, who all sensitiveness
and excitement, could scarcely bear with the im-
movable, and as it appeared to her, cold disposi-
tion of Magdalen; but at length an opportunity
THE STAB IN
presented itself of proving that there was a true
warm woman's heart beneath that cold exterior.
Effe, after many days of suffering and danger,
became a mother, and with untiring devotion
Magdalen nursed her, never leaving her night or
day, encouraging and supporting her with assur-
ances of that love and mercy which sustains us in
all sorrows, in warm and earnest accents, and
with a simple eloquence which Effie had not be-
lieved her capable of; and although when the
danger was past and Effie was again about, Mag-
dalen returned to her former calm cold manner,
Effie knew it was only manner, and the memory
of her sick room came vividly before her, when
her cousin's frigidity at times irritated her.
As soon as she was able she sent a few lines to
her husband, whom she heard was living, curiously
enough, at a country seat a few miles only from
Leighton, the name of the town in which her
cousin resided, to announce to him the birth of
their child, with a faint hope that it might soften
him; but the time passed on and he took no notice
of her, and she gave up hoping and tried to be
content, if not happy, with her beautiful child.
Through the same course by which she traced
her husband, she learned that his gardener was
her old friend and playmate, Will Davis; and
hearing that he came frequently to Leighton, she
determined to renew her acquaintance with him,
as through him she might at least hear constant
news of her husband, who, notwithstanding his
cruel desertion she so fondly loved, and for whose
welfare, temporal and eternal, she never ceased to
Sending word to the inn, therefore, that the
next time Davis came a lady wished to speak to
him, she awaited his arrival with impatience.
His astonishment can well be imagined; and con*
stantly to carry news to his once darling little
Effie of the husband she so loved, was the occasion
of Will's oft recurring visits to Leighton, which at
her request, he kept a profound secret, even from
his wife, as Effie feared if the knowledge of her
proximity became known to Sir Arthur, it might
drive him away.
TEN 8TAR IN
In the interval which elapsed between the last
and the previous visit, Effie was seated one even-
ing with her infant slumbering beside her, gazing
up at the stars the "forget-me-not of the
angels,"-which in the clear frosty air, were
shining with peculiar brilliancy; thinking of and
praying for her husband, praying that the light of
truth might yet dawn on his soul, and that at
least, they might be united in that bright land
beyond the stars, where the tears would be wiped
from all eyes. At length weary with her long
and fixed gaze, she lay back in her arm-chair and
her eyelids closed in sleep.
Suddenly a flash of light seemed to wake her,
and there stood before her an undefined form,
from which she received no impression, but that a
large Star was gleaming in the room, sending forth
rays of light into every dark corner. She felt no
fear, only unmixed astonishment, and no power of
speech. From the form a sound came forth,
"still and small," like a whisper, but distinctly
audible a sound as though light had been en-
dowed with voice:- the words were, "Faith
without works is dead," -" Out of the months
of babes and sucklings He has ordained strength."
In a second it was gone, and she was alone in her
room, and the stars were gleaming in the clear
sky, and her baby was still sleeping peacefully,
and Magdalen's busy needle was still clicking in
the adjoining room.
Yes, all was the same, but the young mother
who sat there; a fixed determination had sprung
up in her breast -she would tell no one; who
had she to tell but Magdalen, who would think
her mad but she would work for that husband
as well as pray for him a wild, perhaps roman-
tic notion had taken possession of her mind, from
the words of the vision or dream- they still
rung in her ears, again she repeated, "Out of
the mouths of babes and sucklings;" and on the
morrow when Will Davis arrived, to the wonder
of simple hearted Magdalen, Effie entrusted her
child, the only comfort of her lonely life, to his
care, bidding him, as it grew older, continually
contrive that it should be in the presence of its
father, only enjoining secrecy from Mrs. Davis.
THE BTAR IN
She offered him a handsome remuneration for this
care of her darling, which she insisted on his
accepting, to be paid quarterly; and with a calm-
ness which surprised herself, she saw him bear
the child away.
But the almost supernatural support she seemed
to have received went with the child, and as you
have seen, her grief could no longer be restrained.
The old impetuosity, excited by Magdalen's calm-
ness, again returned, for she felt more than ever,
the need of a mind greater and stronger than her
own, which could advise and counsel her.
How often do we feel the necessity for some
one to applaud what we have done, ere we can
entirely be convinced ourselves that it is right:
such was Elle's feelings now, she wanted some-
thing more than that oft repeated answer of
Magdalen's, she wanted some one who did not
only tell her coldly to employ herself, but who
sought employment and amusement for her. It
is seldom that the wretched are energetic, great
sorrow brings with it a disinclination for any
active employment, and how valuable are those
friends who with delicate tact, find objects which
divert and attract the saddened heart from the
contemplation of its own misery. Magdalen
Gray only knew it was sinful to be idle, fruitless
to complain, and having never known any grief
herself, could not, as Effie justly said, understand
hers, or how to deal with it.
After Efie had been for some time weeping in
her own room, Magdalen called her to supper;
she refused to take any, so Magdalen ate her own
quietly, locked up the things, wished Effie good
night, hoped she would be better in the morning,
betook herself to bed, and was soon sleeping as
calmly as a child. Had Effie been ill, and she
could have nursed her, she would have done so,
as she had proved, untiringly; but she found she
could not help her now, could not remove the
cause of her tears or make them cease to flow,
yet she named her name amongst those who were
afflicted in mind, body or estate, in her simple
prayer, and so, perhaps she had done more for
her, than many who might have stayed beside
her, and entered more readily into her grief.
THE STAR IN
When Effie's weary eyelids closed at length in
sleep, there glittered again before them the same
And the stern unrelenting husband, what of
him ? was his life more happy than his weeping
wifo's? There were times when Eflie almost
laughed, he seldom smiled times when she
felt calm and full of hope,- he was always rest-
less, and had no hope. Childless mother, widowed
wife, your lot is enviable compared to his.
A few days had passed away since Lucy had
been entrusted with the care of the little stranger
child, and anxious to make reparation for the
petulance she first showed, and the apparent dis-
trust she had evinced of her husband, she was
unremitting in her care and attention to the little
creature; and was well rewarded by Will's
delight and praise, by the pleasure expressed in
his happy honest face, as he stood by the side of
the cradle, where in the day-time Lucy laid both
the children; and seated beside it, one foot on the
rocker, she sung and rocked the little things to
sleep. There was a strong contrast between
them, the little brown, healthy, plain face of her
own child, and the exquisitely fair and beautiful
features of the little stranger -yet, wise and
merciful ordination- it was on the little brown
plain face, that Lucy's earnest gaze of love was
fixed, and she would not have had one of its
funny little features altered for worlds, for it was
"the picture of Will" and how could any one
think that ugly ?
She was seated as I have described her, rock-
ing the two children, working and singing merrily,
alone, for Will had just gone up to the house to
speak to Sir Arthur about planting some trees,
when her neighbor Mrs. Grimley entered.
I didn't knock, Mrs. Davis, for I found the
door warn't fastened."
"All right, Mrs. Grimley, how do you do ?"
"Oh! pretty middling, I just looked in 'cause
I'm going to Leighton, and I thought you might
want something as I could do for you."
"Thank you, no, I don't want anything," and
she looked up with such a bright, merry glance
at her neighbor, as though she really had every
THB STAR IN
thing her heart could desire, and really did not
want any thing.
"Why, lor bless me," said Mrs. Grimley,
approaching the cradle, who's child have you
That's a nurse-child I've got," she answered
What hadn't you got enough to do, without
taking a nurse-child, but who's is it then ? "
Lucy's face flushed at this repeated inquiry,
which she was unable to answer, but feeling that
it would never do to say she did not know, she
replied, -" A friend of Will's."
"A friend of Will's! Lor! how odd, ain't it
well then, that it's out to nurse ? "
Oh, dear, yes, it's quite well ? "
"It's mother isn't then I suppose "
"I never ask questions that don't concern me,
Mrs. Grimley," answered Lucy sharply, "I've
got the care of the child, and that's all I know."
Ah! your husband's a lucky man."
"That's just my opinion," said Lucy, recover-
ing her good humor.
I heard," continued her visitor, "that he'd
brought a child home from Leighton for you to
look after, but I couldn't believe it, and shouldn't
if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes, I'm
What, did you think there were no such things
as children in Leighton ?"
"Ah! well," said Mrs. Grimley, without an-
swering the question, "it's a good thing we ain't
all alike; however, if you've got nothing for me
to do for you, I'll go;" and shrugging her shoul-
ders and shaking her head, as she glanced once
more at the unconscious object of her remarks,
she wished Lucy good-bye and departed.
Lucy did not resume her song when she was
gone, though she still worked busily: soon the
merry whistle announced her husband's approach,
and he came gaily into the room.
Lucy, my girl, I'm going to Leighton for Sir
The smile with which she welcomed him van-
ished, as she said,
Oh! Will, you're always going to Leighton."
s RzTs nm
"So long as there's no other town near, I
must; so come look alive, old lady, hat, gloves,
You must wait a moment," she said, "I must
fasten off my thread."
" Well, I don't mind waiting a moment -law,
bless those dear children, how pretty they do
look don't you love them Luce ?"
"I love mine! "
Oh! and the other too, I know you do.
Where's the good little woman like you in the
world, that wouldn't love a poor helpless innocent
like that: it's natural, it's born with them-
what's the child's name, by the by, I suppose it's
been christened, how stupid of me not to ask -
well, I must todday- tie a knot in my hand-
"To-day, are you going to see any one who
belongs to it today, Will? said Lucy, looking
earnestly at him.
Why, yes, Lucy, I couldn't have the heart
to go into Leighton, and not sy how the child was
"To the mother ? "
Yes, Lucy, to the mother."
She made no answer, only rose and got his
gloves and hat and whip, as he had asked her,
and gave them to him silently.
"Is that all, Lucy."
"I believe so."
"Then I ain't to have a kim."
She held up her face to his without replying,
and he saw there were tears in her bright eyes.
He kissed her tenderly, so tenderly, and said -
"Dear old girl, I'll make all the haste home
I can, and next time I go to Leighton, I'll have
out the cart and you shall go too."
She smiled then, and kissed him warmly, she
was such a sweet temper, her sunny disposition
rarely permitted the clouds to do more than pass,
and she did love her husband so very dearly she
could not be vexed with him long; and so she
watched him out of sight as usual, smiling and
waving her hand to him as long as he could see
her: and he was soon home, much sooner than
she expected or hoped for, bringing her a new
THE BTAR IN
dreaa, and a toy for their baby, which pleased her
even more. That evening they sat over their
bright little fire, and comfortable supper, chatting
and laughing so happily, scarcely heeding the
wind which blew hoarsely round their dwelling,
and the rain which pattered against the window.
Only one topic seemed to be avoided by mutual
consent, the journey to Leighton, and yet
Lucy was dying to ask him all about it, and what
the child's name was to be; but she could not
make up her mind, as he did not speak of it, to
broach the subject, it might cloud their happy
evening, so she said nothing; but just as they
were going to bed, Will said, as though it had
suddenly struck him -
"The child's name is Stella, Lucy."
"Ugly name enough," answered Lucy, rather
Yes, it don't strike me as very pretty, but I
understand it means in some foreign language, a
star; and the poor mother, Lucy, was very
wretched when it was born, and she thought it
came a little bright thing to comfort her, so she
called it a star, and that was a pretty thought
now wasn't it "
Will had got a vein of poetry in his composition,
with all its roughness; nurtured perhaps by living
amongst and tending flowers for so many years.
"Then how can she bear to part with it,
Will? asked Lucy.
"She has a good reason, Lucy, but come,
it's bed-time isn't it ? Let's shut up shop."
Lucy made no answer, only sighed. Oh! that
secret-daily it grew more irksome to Will to
keep, as he saw how his want of confidence pained
his little wife; he felt it was hard upon her, and
yet he had promised,- what could he do but
he lay down that night determined to go and ask
Effie to absolve him from a promise, which seemed
likely to poison his domestic peace, and render
miserable a life, which had been hitherto so
happy: unfortunately, the wind, which continued
to blow very roughly, kept Lucy awake, and in
those waking hours, she lay and thought again
and again, how very singular it was that Will
should be so mysterious about this child.
TIB STu Ir
All Mrs. Grimley's innuendoes came back to her
mind, until at length her one tormenting thought
kept her awake even when the rough wind had
lulled; and when morning dawned and Will rose
for his early work, she never spoke to him, but let
him go out unnoticed, though he stooped and
kissed her very gently, thinking she was sleeping.
But when he returned to his breakfast, and she,
who was wont to be all smiles and cheerfulness, was
sulky and serious, resisting every effort he made
to restore her to good temper, Will lost his, and
the determination with which he had gone to
sleep, he revoked, angrily saying to himself,
"She won't trust, won't believe me; I shan't
No longer whistling and joking with the men,
bat silently, sullenly, Will pursued his avocations;
even his reserved master noticed his altered man-
ner, and asked him if he were ill.
Will gave him a short answer, for he felt cross
with every one, and not less so with Sir Arthur,
through whom his present discomfort arose; but
this unsatisfactory reply was not enough for his
master, for Will's cheerfulness, industry and
honesty, had won for him a certain interest in the
heart of this stern and lonely man: he liked to
hear him as he sat in his spacious rooms alone,
whistling so merrily at his work, and talking and
joking with the men, and though he never praised
him more than to say he had as yet found him
an honest and industrious person," still it was
quite evident that he was a favorite.
Again, therefore, he said: -" I fear you must
be ill, Davis, for you are not like yourself this
I'm just out, Sir, that's what it is," answered
Will, putting his foot on the spade and digging it
firmly into the hard ground; and then as though
a sudden thought had struck him, he continued
with marked emphasis, looking full at Sir Arthur
as he spoke:
Me and my wife, my dear little woman! have
fell out, for the first time since our wedding-day,
and everything seems to go wrong, Sir, in conse-
quenoe; the very shrubs I transplanted yesterday
have withered, and I don't seem to know what
TEI STAS If
I'm about: there's something in a wife's happy
smiling face that's like sunshine to a man's heart,
when once he's used to it and mine I think
without it would wither like those shrubs."
Sir Arthur had turned half aside as he uttered
the first few words, and at the conclusion of his
speech, his back was entirely towards him, and he
appeared to be busily employed in examining a
plant near him be made no reply. Will
resumed his digging, and in another moment Sir
Arthur walked away, but to himself he repeated
then, and many times that day-"and mine
without it would wither like those shrubs."
After his solitary dinner, Sir Arthur sat in his
dining-room, which though luxuriously and splen-
didly furnished still looked dreary, it was so silent,
so lonely, even memory did not fill it with tenants:
he had bought the place immediately after his
separation from his wife, and lived in it ever since
alone, inviting no guest either to visit or stay with
The heavy velvet curtains were now closely
drawn, the logs of wood blazed on the hearth, the
claret jug stood on the table beside him, and a
plate of biscuits the rest of the dessert he had
ordered away -but these biscuits he kept break-
ing and eating, and throwing pieces to the blood-
hound, who seated at his feet with his large ears
erect, and his eyes fixed on his master, made
snaps at the morsels he tossed him, which disap
peared down his capacious throat at one gulp.
As I have said, many times that day had Sir
Arthur repeated to himself Will's words; he had
felt that the absence of the smile he had so loved,
had withered his heart, that in its sunshine there
might have sprung up better, happier thoughts.
More than with her beauty, had he been struck
with the purity and simplicity of Effie's nature, he
was beginning since his knowledge of her to
believe that goodness was no name, and happi-
ness no dream," and then to be deceived, to find
that his golden idol was but dross, that with that
guileless manner, that seemingly devoted love for
him, she had deceived him so grossly; it had
indeed withered his heart, and all the tender
THE BTAR IN
buds of better feeling which seemed inclined to
He had sat some time tossing biscuits to Don,
and thinking of Efie, when the unusual sound of
a load peal at the door-bell disturbed him; he
started to his feet and listened: he was always in
dread that Efie would discover his retreat and
seek him, and he felt, although he would not have
owned it, that to see her sweet face, perhaps in
tears, and hear her voice, would shake his stern
resolve. How little he thought that but a few
short miles divided them, that she knew where he
was, but would never molest him again.
The door opened, and his confidential servant,
who always waited on him, said, that Mr. Mow-
bray the Parish doctor wished to speak with him.
What does he want, have you any idea,
Miller ? "
No, Sir Arthur, I don't know at all; to ask
your name for the head of some subscription list
"Well, say I will see him."
When Miller again opened the door, it was to
admit Mr. Mowbray. He was a little man, with
a shiny, bald, strangely shaped head, exhibiting
an inordinately large "bump" of benevolence,
his face was pale without being sickly, but he
looked prematurely old; his hands were white
and delicate as a woman's, and he had a continued
habit of rubbing them one in the other whenever
he was speaking: he wore a large pair of silver
mounted spectacles, and was dressed with scrupu-
lons neatness and cleanliness, though his black
suit bore evidence of good service.
"I am come, Sir Arthur," he said, when he
had seated himself in the chair to which Sir
Arthur pointed, "I am come on behalf of some
poor creatures to supplicate your kind assistance,
well knowing that you are never deaf to such ap-
peals, and that out of the good store with which
God has blessed you, you are always ready to
minister to the wants of others."
Sir Arthur moved rather restlessly on his chair,
but answered with his usual politeness. "I am
always willing, Mr. Mowbray, to assist those on
THE 8TAR IN
whom fortune has not smiled; I have more than
enough for my own requirements, it would be
strange indeed if I did not from my superabun-
dance, willingly give to those who are less
The Doctor sighed deeply as he replied, "If
all the rich so argued, there would be fewer poor,
Sir Arthur, but I will advert at once to the object
of my intrusion on you at this unseasonable hour ;
there is a family in this village whom I have
visited often in my capacity of a doctor"-he
did not say how often as a Christian man and
they are at present in great trouble. I went
there just now and found the young wife, barely
nineteen, Sir Arthur, with two little children,
weeping bitterly, and had I not known her well,
I could scarcely have credited her story,- the
reason for her passionate tears, she was deserted
by her husband."
Too much interested in his errand and the hope
to excite the compassion of his auditor, to per-
ceive, even with his practised eye, the deadly
pallor which had overspread Sir Arthur's face,
he continued Positively deserted by her huso
band, and so left with her two children wholly
without the means of support; he has been gone
three days, and to-day she has divided the last
piece of bread in the house with her children, and
has not tasted food herself. I am not over-
burdened with money myself," he said, with a
little nervous laugh," and though I have supplied
her with food for to-night and perhaps to-morrow,
something more than that must be done; and it
struck me, that you, Sir Arthur, would generously
assist her, it is such a peculiarly sad case."
He paused, as if for a reply, and Sir Arthur
said, in a low strange voice-" What was the
man's object for leaving her, it must have been a
very strong one."
That is the very thing which is so distressing
to the poor girl, Sir Arthur, she can't imagine
the cause why he has left her or where he is
gone; she fancies he is weary of working so hard
for such small gain, and that he has gone to seek
his fortune, that he cannot bear to see her want far
many things.: like a true woman she makes a
THB BTAR IN
thousand excuses for him, gives him credit for the
best motive though she and her children are
starving. Oh! they are fine creatures, noble-
hearted beings, women, Sir Arthur, from the
highest to the lowest; it is a touching sight the
patient sorrow of that poor deserted wife, and the
true love which, through all, endeavors to shield
her husband from blame."
How little did that simple hearted man dream
of the agony he was inflicting on his listener, who,
made no reply now, but rose and rang the bell,
and remained standing on the hearth-rug with his
back to the fire playing with his watch-chain.
The dog, who had been scrutinizing the visitor
ever since his entrance, rose also, and walking up
to him began vehemently licking his delicate white
hands. Good discriminating Don, thus you en-
deavored to testify your admiration for that self-
denying, excellent being, whose life was passed in
Going about "doing good." The door opened
and Miller appeared in answer to the summons of
My desk and keys," said his muter, look-
Yes, Sir, I've brought them, Sir, expected
you'd want them, Sir," and the servant placed
them on the table, and with a quick but silent
step left the room, closing the door softly behind
him. Sir Arthur unlocked his desk, still silently,
took out a cheque-book, wrote a draft, and gave it
across the table to the little doctor.
That will I trust prevent any fear of starv-
ation, Mr. Mowbray."
Oh! Sir Arthur, I am indeed very grateful,
really more than I have words to express," said
Mowbray, his eyes glistening behind his spec-
I really do not see that you have any cause
for gratitude, Mr. Mowbray."
"No cause for gratitude, Sir, not for being
made more happy than I think I ever was before;
I am not ashamed to say, Sir Arthur, that I am
a poor man, a very poor man, and it is the first
time I have ever held in my hand such a sum of
THB STAB IN
money to give away, to take to poor offering
people; think, Sir, what this piece of paper
It will make the woman cease to weep for her
husband," said Sir Arthur coldly.
This was a speech beyond Mowbray's compre-
hension, he only looked up therefore wonderingly
at Sir Arthur, and then rose to depart; saying,
"his errand accomplished, he would not longer
Pray do not hurry yourself, Mr. Mowbray.
I do not consider you by any means an intruder;
allow me to offer you a glass of wine, do you drink
"Thank you, you are very good," said Mow-
bray, rather hesitatingly, for well knowing the
retired, unsociable disposition of Sir Arthur, he
scarcely knew whether he ought to accept his
invitation to remain any longer.
It is a cold night," said Sir Arthur, perceiv-
ing his hesitation, "perhaps some mulled port
would suit you better." And without waiting for
a reply he rang the bell again.
"Miller," he said, when the man entered,
"take away that," pointing to his desk, "and
bring some mulled port wine quickly."
"Yes, Sir Arthur," he answered, but he
looked very much astonished, such a thing was
almost unheard of; that his master should invite
any one to remain after their business was trais-
acted was incredible. Don was as much inclined
as his master for the doctor to stay, it appeared,
as he had seated himself beside him, and rested
his cold black nose in his hand.
Do you find much distress in the village, Mr.
No, Sir, on the whole I think we have not
much to complain of. The farmers pay their men
very well, and only in a few cases, where a love
of drink is a besetting sin, do I find any very
Whereabouts does this woman live, you have
been telling me of?"
At that small cottage at the end of the lane
as you turn off to Leighton, her name, poor soul,
is Simmonds. To-morrow, Sir, you may rest as-
sured, your name will be mentioned in her
prayers; I shall not go there to-night, for I have
administered some quieting medicine which will I
trust enable her to sleep, and I must not disturb
her. Oh! what a blessing to be rich, -to be
able to give to those that need."
Several times when he had thus spoken, Sir
Arthur's searching glance had been upon him, -
on his thin harassed face, and his worn clothes;
his appearance bespoke so plainly respectable
poverty, and yet he had continued to rejoice in
his ability to serve others, never seeming to
consider his own necessities. Was this really
genuine poor Sir Arthur, it was his misfortune
to doubt every one; and yet this unostentatious
man interested him in spite of himself, he liked
to hear him talk, and even when the wine was
finished, and again he rose to go, Sir Arthur
begged him to stay, and the conversation grew
graver, deeper,-and forgetting his somewhat
nervous dread of this stern, solitary man, as he
warmed in his arguments, Mowbray talked so
well, exhibited such a perfect knowledge of the
subjects on which he spoke, that with real interest
and attention Sir Arthur listened.
"And you really believe," he said, at length,
" that the motives which induced the self-sacrifices
you tell me you have been witness to, were pure
and true, that there was no self-interest to serve
under this mask of self-denial."
"Truly I believe it, Sir Arthur, and I hope I
shall not live to think otherwise."
Very early was my belief shaken, Mr. Mow-
bray, for I found that those whose external
conduct purchased for them the good opinion
of the world, were as bad really as those whoso
acts defied it: worse to my thinking, for there is
nothing so bad as hypocrisy, and I have lived to
feel there is but one true happiness,- to die and
"There is much to be done here, Sir Arthur,
first: which if well done, will make it a happiness
to die, because we shall merit the promised
reward. Life indeed would be a hopeless, weary
struggle, if to die were all; when I lie down at
night, worn out as I mostly am with the fatigues
THE STAR IN
of the day, how should I rise early again to
pursue the same wearisome course, if I were not
assured, that "there remainoth a rest." You
have no idea how the thought of the eternal City,
of the joys promised us in another world, support
and bear me through this. Do not think me a
vain boaster, for telling you this, I do it-for His
glory who supported me through it; but, Sir
Arthur, there have been many days, when I have
worked hard from six o'clock in the morning till
twelve at night, on dry bread and water, because
I have given all the money I possessed to the
starving poor of the miserable parish in which I
once lived: and I was happier over that scanty
meal, than an Alderman at a feast. I was
taught this by example, Sir, by the example of
the poor whom I have lived amongst.
No one who has witnessed their endurance,
their self denial, their charity to one another, and
their calm, happy death-beds, would doubt that a
Divine power alone supported them; or the truth
of that Holy word which has made them believe
in Him and implore his assistance. I would
simply say to those who ar harassed by doubts,
visit the poor; make yourselves acquainted with
their lives; hear them, through agonies of mind
and body, bless the God whom they believe only
chastens those he loves; watch them in their
dying moments, parting from parents, wives, hus-
bands, children, calmly pointing, if they cannot
speak, to Heaven with a happy smile upon their
lips, or murmuring, if their strength permits
them, "there we shall meet again;" see, as I
have seen such scenes, and, as by an enchanter's
wand, the mist of doubt will vanish, and the light
of truth shine into their souls."
Why amongst the poor and ignorant alone is
such piety and goodness found, Mr. Mowbray? "
"Do not mistake me, Sir Arthur, far be it
from me to say it is only amongst the poor; but
I speak to you now from my own experience,
which has been more amongst them, and I do
think that a skeptic would be more struck with the
Truth when he sees, in the midst of the direst
temptations and privations, the respect for God's
laws which preserves them from sin; the resigna-
THE STAR Iz
tion which prevents complaints; and the love
which dictates praise; than amongst those who
possessed of every worldly advantage and comfort,
would indeed be singularly ungrateful not to love
and bless the Giver of such good gifts. But
really," he said, suddenly glancing at a clock on
the mantlepiece, I have remained here a most
unconscionable time, and I must indeed wish you
good night. Allow me again to repeat my thanks
for your "
"No, no, Mr. Mowbray, I merit no thanks
indeed, for I have simply given what I do not
want; when I dine on bread and water, to give
the poor a meal," he said with a gracious smile,
"then you shall thank me as much as you
please ;" and shaking one of the delicate hands
warmly in his, he parted with his guest.
On the following day, Sir Arthur might have
been seen to wander up the lane, with his usual
thoughtful, serious air, moving his head gravely
in return for the bobs of the children and the
bows of the men he met, and to stop before the
white cottage at the end. It looked very melan-
choly and deserted, as though it were not in-
habited, but he knocked for admission, and the
summons was answered by a very fat woman who
appeared any thing but like an unhappy deserted
"This is Mrs. Simmonds's, I believe is it
"It be their cottage, Sir."
"Is she in ?"
No, Sir, poor creature, she beas't, didn't you
know, Sir, she be gone to flbd her husband. She
arranged with me, as I'm a lone woman, to come
here and take care of the children, saying she'd
pay me what little she could, poor soul, but I'm
sure I didn't want to take it of her; and at day-
break this morning, she was off."
"But does she know where he is gone "
"Not she, Sir, but he's got a rich brother in
London, and she thinks may be he's gone to him,
and so she's started to tramp the whole way;
'twas heart-breaking to see her part with the
children, but she says to me, "Peggy, says she,
the husband I've sworn to love. and cherish, I
TBU STAR. IN
must think of afore these; God and you will take
care of them for me till I come back, and I never
will, till I hear something of him and so she
went. I watched her as long as I could see her,
she never once looked back, I think she thought
her heart would fail her if she did; and as soon
as she was clean gone, I came back in the house
and cried like a great baby, that I just did: but
law, Sir, excuse my manners, keeping you stand-
ing in the cold, won't you step in ? "
"No, no, thank you, --has Mr. Mowbray, the
Doctor, been here ?"
"Yes, Sir, he came about nine o'clock this
morning, and he was surprised to think poor Nelly
was gone; and sorry too, because he'd got a fine
sum of money a gentleman had given him for her,
and he thought it would have pleased her so, but
he's a going now to put it in the Bank, and
pay me so much a week for minding and keeping
the children. Pretty creturs, I'm glad there's
something for them, to keep 'em out of the poor-
house till she comes lack,at any rate; for willing
a I am, I couldn't have kept them long: I am
but a poor cretur myself, and I expect she'll be a
long time before she finds him."
"I'm obliged to you for your information,"
said Sir Arthur; "should you hear any news of
either Mrs. Simmonds or her husband, I will
thank you to send it up to the Hall."
Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir, I'll be sure."
More thoughtfully than he had come, did Sir
Arthur return; with bent head and measured
step, he took his way home:-this poor young
woman was walking to London in search of her
husband- Effie made no effort to seek him-
but then his conscience reminded him of how
sternly he had said, he would never see her again,
and how he had coldly allowed to pass without
notice the announcement of his child's birth: his
child, the word seemed to strike agreeably on
his ear, surely it would be a happy thing to have
a child growing up with him, -but then, what
was the use of having ties on earth, when they
must all be ruptured by the oblivion of the grave,
better live on unloving and unloved. Nelly Sim-
monds did not think so though, that young delicate
TER STAR IN
woman was braving the perils, and alone, of a
long journey on foot for love; then she believed
in a re-union in a bright world beyond the grave.
Thus thinking, he reached his own Lodge; the
door stood open, but he did not hear as usual
Lucy's merry voice singing, and it seemed so
strange,-though we do not note the cheerful
warbling of the birds, still if it ceased and our
woods and groves were silent, how we should miss
their sweet memory. Lucy's singing and Will's
merry whistle, were pleasant, cheerful sounds to
which Sir Arthur had grown accustomed, and he
did not like the cessation.
He wanted to speak to Will and so he tapped
at the door, but receiving no answer, he walked
in; there was no one there, but feeling sure that
Lucy would not go out and leave the door open,
he thought she was only upstairs and he would
wait. He looked round the room with a sort of
pleasant interest, for it was so clean and pretty
though so humble. Presently a low cooing sound
attracted his attention, which he found proceeded
from a cradle near the fire; for in it lay a lovely
child wide awake, making the most innocent
noises over a ring of India rubber, which, fas
tened round its neck with a blue riband, it was
pulling at and biting.
A sudden spasm appeared to seize and contract
his heart as he gazed at it, a vision of his wife
rose up before him, of his beautiful, suffering
deserted wife -he pressed his hand tightly over
his eyes for a moment, and then bending over the
cradle, gazed earnestly at the child. His watch-
chain gleaming in the light, attracted the little
creature's attention and dropping the ring, she
held out her hands and crowed and laughed more
loudly; he put his finger near her then, on which
shone a diamond ring, and her tiny ones clasped
immediately round it. How strange the feel of
that little grasp, those feeble fingers seemed to
him to hold his so fast he could not move it; and
so he stood, hearing nothing, seeing nothing but
that child in its cradle, not knowing that Will
who had entered, was watching him with tears ii
his honest eyes. A second or two passed, and
then they were disturbed by Lucy's entrance,
TH ISTAR IN
her sleeves rolled up to her elbows and her hands
covered with soap-suds.
Sir Arthur turned suddenly, and Lucy colored
with confusion at finding herself in the presence
of the great man in such disorder. Sir Arthur
seeing this, spoke to her, and with the tact poe-
sesed only by the true gentleman, placed her at
once at her ease -
"I have to apologise to you Mrs. Davis for in-
truding on your house in this manner, but the
door stood invitingly open, and as I could make
no one hear me, I ventured to walk in, imagining
you were not far off."
"No, Sir, I was only just out in the wash-
house, I'm quite ashamed I did'nt hear you, and
you've been waiting."
It is of no consequence, I wanted Davis, and
here he is; can you come with me, Davis?"
"Yes, Sir, certainly."
"The wind has torn away that creeping plant
from the Conservatory, and I see one of your men
is nailing it up again; now I do not like it, and
would much rather as the wind has torn it away,
it were replaced by another: I want you to oome
and see my notion about it."
Davis followed his master from the Lodge;
Lucy dried her hands and began attending to
something which was cooking on the fire, emitting
a great steam and a very savory smell; and baby
continued her happy crowing noise in the cradle.
Lucy's own child was being nursed by a neighbor's
little girl, for not being so sweet a temper as the
little Stella, he wouldn't submit to be left alone
in his cradle, as she was.
The gloom, which had filled the minds of Lucy
and Will, had unhappily not yet worn away.
Lucy had an heroic spirit, which would have
carried her through any great trouble, but she
sunk beneath the pressure of small vexations, as
so many do. It was so difficult for her to bear
with cheerfulness and patience Will's unusual
petulance, and the knowledge that he kept a
secret from her, than with his having committed
some much graver fault.
With the performance of any generous act
there comes a feeling of self-satisfaction acting as
TB1 FnTB IN
a stimulus to, and a reward for, the exertion. To
forgive'her husband for any great wrong done to
her, or by any self-sacrifice repair any wrong he
might have done to others, Lucy was fully capa-
ble; but that passive heroism, which is only seen
and rewarded in secret, was beyond her.
In that day when the Judge of all shall make
up His jewels, brightly amongst them will gleam
those patient, forbearing spirits, who have borne
so cheerfully and uncomplainingly, the many
minor evils of life passed silently through this
life unnoticed in its glare and confusion, yet
making sunshine in their own homes, patiently
putting up with irritating, conflicting tempers,
smoothing all difficulties, thinking of every one's
troubles but their own, and with increasing perse-
verance striving to lessen them.
Will was not gone long with his master, he
returned soon to his dinner, but was somewhat
surprised not to find it ready.
Why, Lucy, old girl," he said, where's the
dinner, it's late."
Bother the dinner and every thing else," she
answered pettishly; "of course, because I have
been out washing, the dinner's spoilt; I can't be
every where at once, and the soup is burnt, so if
you can't eat it you must let it alone: I have
been trying this ever so long to take the taste
away, but it's no use. I wish I was dead, that I
do;" and flinging herself into a chair, Lacy
burst into a childish passion of tears.
Now Will had come in in an improved temper
himself, for he had been so pleased to see Sir
Arthur notice his child, and he hoped some good
would come of it for poor Efle's sake; but Lucy
flying- out like this, as it seemed to him for
nothing, put him out again, and he said rather
angrily, "I can't think what's come to you, Louy,
you ain't a bit like the jolly little woman I mar-
ried, you're forever mooning about, and getting
put out of the way for such trifles; come, look
alive, and dish the dinner, do, the soup won't
poison us if it is burnt."
Oh I the "soft answer," why is it not for ever
on our tongues ? if Will had spoken gently,
soothingly to her, taken into consideration, that
THI BTARB I
she was tired with a hard morning's work, and
that it was trying to have the dinner spoiled, -
her ill humor might have vanished, and all would
have been well; but this speech only made Lucy
cry more, and although she did as he ordered
her, and serve the dinner, it was with a very ill
grace; she ate none herself, and continued to cry
during the whole meal, which was certainly not
an agreeable accompaniment to a spoilt dinner.
Will went out immediately afterwards, saying, he
thought he should be late back, and poor little
Lucy was left alone to recover herself as she best
She felt very wretched, so ill-used; she
thought there never was a little woman who had
more just cause to complain than she had. She
cleared away the dinner things, nursed her child
which the neighbor's child brought in to her,
cleaned up the room, and then took little Stella
from the cradle, who had been for some time ex-
pressing herself in her own language as tired of
remaining there, and sat with her in her lap for
awhile, looking very thoughtful, as though some-
TEI WD 77
thing was brewing in her mind; then as if with a
sudden resolution, she started up from her hair,
went up with the child into her room, and in a
few moments came down with her bonnet and
shawl on, the baby also dressed in its walking
things, and calling to the little girl aforesaid, to
mind the sleeping boy who had changed places
with Stella in the cradle, she went out, not into
the lane, but quickly along the shrubbery towards
She hurried on to the servants' entrance, and
ringing the bell, demanded if Mrs. Copley was
within. She was, if Mrs. Davis would step in,
they would tell Mrs. Copley she was there;
because Mrs. Copley was never intruded on with-
out her agust permission. It was granted now,
and Lucy with little Stella in her arms was
admitted into her presence. In the most com-
fortable of comfortable rooms, well carpeted and
curtained, admitting no breath of cold wind, and
looking out over the Park, with a peep at the
view between the trees; with a famous fire on
which a log of wood was sputtering and blaming,
THE BTAB IN
throwing a warm red light on the old fashioned
furniture, sat the respectable housekeeper of Sir
Arthur Atherstone: no one could have felt other-
wise than snug once admitted in the sacred pre-
cincts of the housekeeper's room.
The sight of the kind fat motherly woman, was
a welcome in itself, she looked so hospitable and
"Why, goodness, Lucy child, I declare the
sight of you is good for sore eyes, as the saying
is; what has become of you ?"
Why aunt," said Lucy, seating herself, for
the chairs in that room seem to invite you to sit
down, "I have been so busy I haven't had a
minute I could call my own, and I have only run
up now to ask you a very great favor, 'cause I am
"Unhappy, you! why God bless the girl,
what's come to her?"
SI'll tell you, Aunt, all about it, only promise
you'll do what I ask you."
You may be sure I will if I can, but go on,
for I amn curious to know what should make you
Tm DBBT. TV
unhappy -though you re married, and that's
enough to make most women miserable drat the
men, I ay."
"Well, Aunt dear, you shall hear; I know
you won't take Will's part against me, that's why
I thought you were the best person to come to.
Will last week went to Leighton and never came
home till quite late, and then brought a baby with
Mercy on us, a what ?"
A baby, Aunt, for me to take charge of, he
said, and be most careful of, only not to ask him
any questions about it. Well, I was upset very
much at first, but I do love Will dearly, and I
thought I ought to trust him, so I said I would,-
but Aunt I can't bear it, he's always going to
Leighton, sad stopping ever so long, and he is so
dreadful mysterious about the child, it makes my
"I should think so, indeed," said the old lady
drawing herself up with great dignity, and
smoothing down the folds of her gown.
Well, Aunt, what I want you to do, is to let
TH STAL IN
me leave the child here-and when Will comes
home and finds it gone, I shall see whether--
whether he cares any thing particular about it -
and I won't tell him what's become of it until he
tells me whose it is and all about it; for it is a
shame he should have a secret from his wife."
"It is, Lucy, but what can you expect from a
man, they're all alike. I told you when you
married, you were a silly girl, but you wouldn't be
advised; but that's nothing now, that's done and
can't be undone, a the saying is: but willing as
I am to help you, Lucy, what in the name of
fortune am I to do with a baby here ? "
Why, Aunt dear, you understand children so
well, a great deal better than I do, and I am sure
you'll manage capitally with it only just for
tonight. I'm sure Will will tell me, and I'll
come for her in the morning; she's a pretty dear
and so good, that I must say," she said; turning
the child's face round to Mrs. Copley.
Bles me, it is a beautiful child, I thought it
was your own boy you'd got when you came in
first-why dear me," she said, rising and taking
the little thing in her arms, "it is the loveliest
little creature I ever saw. I used to think lady
Baltimore's last was a beauty; I never thought it
would live, that poor child--la! the nights I
have set up with it -but this, why it's not to
be named in the same day, as the saying is; well
I dare say I can manage with it for this one
night, what do you feed it with ? "
"On biscuit-powder, tops and bottoms, any
thing, it eats capitally,--it's a strong little
Well, my dear, it will be safe with me,
depend upon it, but somehow Lucy I don't much
like its being such a mysterious child."
Oh! Aunt," said Lucy, reddening a little,
"I'm quite sure it's all quite right, I'm not afraid
of that, but I don't like my Will to have a secret
from me; I assure you our house is'nt like the
same since, and I do hope this will make him tell
me all about it."
Dear, dear, what a pretty creature it is to be
sure," said Mrs. Copley, as the child remained
contentedly in her arms, laughing at and pulling
THI TAl IN
a thick gold chain she wore,--"It makes me
sigh when I think," she continued in a lower
voice, "how that there might have been a little
one here if all had gone right, and Sir Arthur
been a happier man."
"Ah! how was it, Aunt, did Lady Ather-
stone die ?"
"No, no, my dear," said the housekeeper,
shaking her head mysteriously and speaking still
lower, "it's a sad story; no one knows it here
but me and Miller, and we're bound to secrecy;
but I only know that my opinion of men has'nt
been improved since I came to live in this family;
poor dear sweet Lady Atherstone."
You knew her then, Aunt? "
"Knew her, bless her, of course I did, if
you'll never name i out of these walls, I'll shew
you her picture."
I won't say any thing, do show me."
Take the child then," and giving Stella to
Lucy, Mrs. Copley proceeded to unlock an old-
fashioned bureau, and from a secret drawer she
took a case which opened with a spring, and took
THW DSIUN .
from it a cleverly painted and admirable likened
of the beautiful, gentle Efie, in a gold setting
surrounded with brilliant.
Oh my, Aunt, that is handsome! and are
they diamonds all round."
Yes, nothing was too good for her when that
was taken, and then to think it should ever come
to pass that he should say, take that thing off
my table, Mrs. Copley, and let me never see it
again.' I could have said a great deal, but it
wasn't my place, I only cried fit to break my
heart, and carried the pretty thing away, and I
would not part with it not for the worth of the
diamonds. Bless that child, how it crows at it -
mind, mind she don't break it, Lucy," she
exclaimed, as the child seized hold of it, attracted
by the glitter of the jewels.
Oh! how the original of that sweet picture
would have envied her miniature, if she oould
have known that at that moment its senseless
eyes were gazing on her child's face.
SAnd where is she now, Aunt ?"
"Ah! Heaven knows. I wish I did; but
THI BTAB l
never say, Lucy, that I spoke of her, or showed
"Did she run away from Sir Arthur ?"
"She run away! -but there, you must not
ask any questions, Lucy, I have said more than I
should, perhaps now."
Well, Aunt, I'm very much obliged for a
sight of the picture, I won't say any thing about
it-but I must go.really now; I'm so grateful
for your taking the child, I'm sure she'll be good
with you, and you know how to manage children,
don't you ?"
"I should rather think I did," she said
Well, good bye, Aunt," and kissing her and
the child, Lucy departed.
Mrs. Copley had two dominant feelings, which
were so strong they had almost become princi-
ples; one was a hatred of men, and the other, a
love of children: the former, she thought she
could never sufficiently condemn, nor the latter,
sufficiently praise, and she never lost an oppor-
tunity of doing one or the other. She prided
herself also on her knowledge of both, and was
pleased and flattered when she was given credit
All this, sly little Lucy had calculated when
she took this strange whim into her head -feel-
ing sure the child could not be in better hands,.
and that the old Lady would readily enter intd a
plan which would mildly punish one of that
wicked sex she held in such condemnation. I
say mildly, for she was far too kind-hearted to
wish harm to any one, but the fact of knowing
many instances in which women had been the
victims of designing men, had made her thus
irate against them, add the concluding case,
respecting her young and lovely mistress, had of
course confirmed her opinion.
And Will, what had become of him; Will was
gone to Leighton again to Leighton tears on
the bright face of his little merry Lucy was too
much for his philosophy, for though he had spoken
pettishly to her at the time, he determined he
would restore the smiles if he could, and so he
86 MH BTAn Ur
started off at once to ask Effie's permission to
reveal to his wife the secret of the child's birth.
Effie, hearing that it was disturbing their
domestic peace, consented at once, only begging
him to impress on Lucy, the necessity for con-
tinued silence. He then told her how Sir Arthur
had seen and noticed the child, how he had found
him playing with ana watching it. Poor Effie
heard him with tears of delight, and pressing his
hand warmly in here, thanked him again and again
for taking the baby, saying she was ever supported
in her separation from it, by the strongest hope
that the little Star would yet shine into her hus-
band's heart, and melt it into love and forgiveness.
It was late when Will got home, and he found
Lucy watching for him-
Were you getting frightened about me, old
girl," he said, in his usual kind voice.
I was beginning to wonder what had gone
with you, dear, but make haste in, I've got some
thing to tell you so curious, -I've been dying
for you to come home," and she busied herself in
removing his wraps and settling him in his arm-
chair, that he might listen quite at his ease, and
then she sat beside him, and began,-
"Do you know, Will dear, I was in rather a
naughty humor today, and when you were gone
I thought I'd play you a trick and punish you for
keeping a secret from me."
Ah! began Will.
"No, now don't speak till I've done, well, so I
took little Stella up to Aunt Copley at the Hall,
and asked her to keep the baby all night, that I
might frighten you when you came home, and so
make you tell me whose child it was-hush!
stop a bit about an hour ago, down comes the
under-housemaid with a note for me, and judge
my surprise when I read this, now what does it
mean, Will ? "-and drawing a three-cornered
note from her pocket, she opened and gave it to
him: it was as follows -
"Dear Lucy- I have strong and particular
reasons for not wishing this child to return to
your care, I wish it to remain here; I should
T STAR IN,
like to see Will as soon as he comes in, I have no
doubt he will tell you all he knows: if he does,
be secret: be sure he comes to me directly he
Your loving Aunt,
"Oh! Will dear, what does it all mean," she
said, as he finished reading the note, and looked
up at her with a smile.
Well, Lucy, now I'll tell you, it has worried
you I know, and I have been unjust and cross with
you for being worried; but I felt nettled 'cause you
didn't trust me, but your tears I couldn't stand,
and I've been all the way to Leighton to have my
promise given me back, and I may tell you, if
you'll promise to be secret."
"Oh! I'll promise any thing, Will," said the
little woman, clapping her hands with delight like
a child about to hear a Fairy tale," only do tell
"Did you ever know there was a Lady
"Yes, I have heard there was."
"Well, Lucy, they had been married only a
few months when Sir Arthur found out she had
been a poor cottager's daughter, and that the
great lady who brought her up was no relation of
here at all; he's dreadfully proud, and Lucy, do
you know, he left her, settled so much a year on
her, and left her."
0 Will! Poor creature," said Lucy, putting
her hand in her husband's, as though to make
sure he should not leave her.
Well, after he'd left her, she went to live with
a relation of hers in Leighton, and there her baby
"And it's Lady Atherstone you go to see, and
Stella's her baby," said Lucy eagerly.
"But, Will "-
But why does she part with it? I'm com-
ing to that; she thought that if the child could
be thrown by accident in Sir Arthur's way,
without knowing whose it was, he might take a
fancy to it, and it might soften his heart to her
THI TAR IN
and make him think of his own -for she wrote
to tell him when it was born-and somehow
bring them together again. Now, I don't know -
but it was a fancy of here, poor soul, and I.could
not refuse her. Who do you think she was,-
you've heard me speak of little Effie Gray in
Devonshire, at my home."
"Yes, to be sure."
"Well, that's her,- isn't it odd how things
do come about ? to think she could be living so
near her husband and he not know it, and that I
should be his gardener; it seems as though God
was planning it out for all to come right, don't it,
"It do indeed, Will, -I am astonished; but
then about Aunt Copley, what has she found
out ? "
"Why that strange mark on its arm, I'll be
bound; Lady Atherstone's got one exactly like
it. I remember it when she was a child as well
as possible. I've often sat and seemed to wonder
when you've been undressing it, that you never
noticed it, nor asked a question about it."
Didn't you tell me, I wasn't to ask quest
So I did, Lucy dear, so I did; and now you
know all, you'll forgive me, won't you ? and Ill
make you a promise, and as you know how I can
keep one you'll believe: from this time forth, I'll
never have a secret from you again. Between
man and wife a secret is like a wedge which
keeps their hearts asunder, and that can't be
right, so no more of it, Lucy; I'm heartily sorry
for it, and it shall never occur again; the roman
you can't trust you shouldn't marry."
"Dear, dear Will," said his little wife laying
her head on his shoulder, I'm so happy now, -
if I could'nt cry."
Oh! nonsense, little woman, none of that,"
he said merrily- Ill just run up now to Aunt
Copley, and then I'll come home and we'll have a
brew of elderwine and a jolly supper in memory
of our new resolution, won't we ?"
"Yes, dear, you run now and make haste back
and I'll have supper ready, I know I can eat
THa STAR I
some," and giving him a hearty kis, which he
warmly returned, Will hurried off.
It was a he predicted: Mrs. Copley as she
held the child in her arms, and the miniature,
which it cried for when she attempted to put it
away, noticed a strong resemblance between the
features of the baby and the picture; then when
she undressed it, she perceived the mark of which
Will had spoken, and combined with the mystery
Lucy told her of, she no longer doubted to whom
the child belonged: though how and why Will
became possessed of it, of course she could not
imagine. But to keep it in the house and attract
Sir Arthur's attention to it, and make him love
it, and perhaps be reconciled to his wife, was the
kind old woman's earnest hope, and would be her
Will was a little puzzled as to whether he might
divulge the secret to Mrs. Copley, but finding her
so staunch an advocate for her mistress, and so
determined in her own mind, that the little Stella
was her child, he thought he might say all he
Greatly was the old dame delighted,but after
a very grave consultation they agreed, that Lady
Atherstone was not to be made acquainted with
the fact that the child was positively beneath its
father's roof, until some more favorable circum-
stances developed themselves, which both Mrs.
Copley and Will had every hope of; and these
two kind-hearted creatures parted mutually satis.
fled with each other, and delighted with their
And poor Effie, she, since Will's last visit, had
grown more hopeful, more calm; her husband
had seen and -noticed his child,- surely it had
recalled her to his mind, and the remembrance
that he was a father- had some strange intuitive
feeling drawn his heart towards the little being
and made him love i ? perhaps it was so, and she
hoped on, and the Star seemed ever watching
her -the same brilliant Star she had firt seen.
Often its light appeared so powerful, that she was
fain to call Magdalen, and ask her if some
luminary was not really lighting the room: be it
as it might, its bright rays, though they were but
TH STAB IN
the creation of her own fancy, cheered and en-
couraged her, and the partial succeed of the
scheme, which its first appearance had suggested
to her, added strength to her hope. She felt
that He who made the stars to shine, was in his
boundless mercy, thus encouraging, thus support-
ing her, and she grew more energetic, more
active, less despairing and complaining, till even
Magdalen gave her credit for greater industry and
cheerfulness, and wondered to see the change.
The days passed on, and twice in one week, to
the surprise of his establishment, Sir Arthur had
invited the Doctor to dinner! Mrs. Copley,
anxious as she was that he should see the child,
had yet with a strange anxiety for which she
could scarcely account, kept her out of his way.
On the day of the Doctois second visit, she
had ordered one of the servants to take the little
creature into the grounds for an airing, and look-
ing out some half hour afterwards, she perceived
Sir Arthur sauntering down the shrubbery, and
in a second or two the servant turn out of one of
the walks with the child in her arms; anxiously
she watched, and saw him stop and speak to the
girl, and pat the child's fae.
"Good gracious," said the old woman, half
aloud, "I never told Susan what to say if she
met Sir Arthur, I wonder what she will say ? -
tell him it's a nurse child of Lucy's and that I
have taken a fancy to it, as I've told all the ser-
vants, I suppose: but I meant her to have another
story for Sir Arthur. However, perhaps it's u
well, it would only have made a talk if she'd
repeated what I told her in the servants' hall,
and I dare say she would, for there's no trusting
any one now-ardays. How he does stand and
talk to the child, I must have Susan in directly
and hear all he's said." She waited with im-
patience, till Sir Arthur moved away with bowed
heart, and then called the girl in.
Slowly Sir Arthur pursued his way down the
shrubbery, Don following him closely, with a slow
and measured step, as though he must needs be
thoughtful because his master was; not scouring
in amongst the bushes as was his wont, startling
the birds from their nests, and sending the squir-
TH BTAB IN
rels scampering to the topmost branches of the
trees, but walking gravely and sedately in accord-
ance with his master's humor.
They arrived at length before the Lodge,
where Lucy stood with her child in her arms,
beneath the porch, talking in her old merry
tones, first to the baby, and then to a pair of
turtle-doves that were cooing in their cage, which
Lucy had hung out for awhile to take advantage
of the sunshine, which now grew daily warmer
and more powerful. *
The sunshine had come back to Lucy's heart
as well, and her husband had no longer to com-
plain of the absence of the smile he loved; for
the cloud which had come across them, had only
made their love and happiness dearer, and they
were more than ever determined, that what was
so precious to them no trifles should disturb.
It was seldom, unless he had business with her
husband, that Sir Arthur spoke to Lucy, but this
day he stopped at the gate, and made some
remark about the weather, and then said:
"Your little nursling is at the Hall, I per-
"Yes, Sir," aid Lucy, coloring a little, now
she knew all about it, and wondering what ext
he was going to say.
"Where do its parents live," he asked.
"In Leighton, Sir," stammered Lucy.
It is very beautiful, the most beautiful child
I ever saw. Are its parents poor? "
Yes, Sir," again Lucy answered coloring
still more at the falsehood she was uttering, but
too much frightened to make any other reply.
Whether Sir Arthur perceived her agitation, or
had said as much as he wished, he dropped the
subject, complimented her on the neatness of the
house and garden, and wishing her good day,"
retraced his steps to the house.
Mrs. Copley had only gathered from Susan,
that Sir Arthur had admired the child excess.
sively, and that she had told him it was a nurse-
child of Lucy's, but to use her own expression -
"he had more looked at it like, than said any
Mr. Mowbray came at the appointed hodr for
dinner, and in the course of it, announced to Sir
THE STAB IN
Arthur that Nelly and her husband had that day
returned; that she had found him at the first
town through which she pased, and her self-
devotion had so touched him, that he gave up the
notion of enlisting which he had entertained,
and returned to the wretched home and scanty
fare he had left so selfishly, determined never
again to desert his wife, who had evinced so much
love for him.
Sir Arthur listened attentively nqtil the Doctor
ceased to speak, and then with a slight smile,
You are determined to wage war against my
preconceived notions, and insist on my abandoning
I should think it the proudest moment of my
life, Sir Arthur, if I could succeed in making you
abandon them, and substitute in their place, ideas
which would make you a happier --- "
"A better man, Mr. Mowbray, -there is
much room for improvement I admit do not
despair, you may do much yet. Already I feel
disposed to take a kinder, and I trust a more fair
view of human nature through your instrument.
tity; and if I am not disappointed in this new
estimate, I may enlarge it yet further, but happi-
ness," he continued, s the faint smile which had
flitted over his face vanished, happiness I
despair of. Another glass of wine, Mr. Mow-
bray," he said, hastily changing the subject; "I
think you have had an arduous day, you look
"I have been about from an early hour, but
under the influence of your good cheer, I am
"Do you drive or ride upon your rounds?"
asked Sir Arthur.
The little Doctor colored, as he replied rather
hurriedly, "I keep no horse now, my visits do
not extend over much ground, and exercise is
good for me."
Sir Arthur made no answer, and soon changed
the subject t indifferent matters, and the evening
passed without further personal allusion.
Since Mowbray's acquaintance with Sir Arthur,
an evident change was perceivable in his once