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said, 'I hopetition addressed - Curate.- Part .

1864.]
The Perpetual Curate.Part XIV.

215 a despairing petition addressed to passed through Mrs Morgan's mind. him. “I hope so, my dear," he To be delivered from all her sussaid, very sedately, as he came picions and injurious thoughts and sat down beside her, and about her husband would have could not refrain from uttering a been a deliverance great enough little lecture upon temper, which for one day; but at the same happy fortunately Mrs Morgan was too moment to see a means of delivermuch excited to pay any attention ance from the smaller as well as to. “ It would be a great deal the greater cross of her existbetter if you did not give way to ence seemed almost too good to your feelings," said the Rector; be credible. She brightened up ** but in the mean time, my dear, it immediately when that thought is your advice I want, for we must occurred to her. “I think it is not take such a step unadvisedly," the very best thing you could do,” and he lifted up the stocking that she said. “We are both so had fallen, and contemplated, not fond of the country, and it is so without surprise, the emotion of much nicer to manage a country his wife. The excellent man was parish than a town one. We might as entirely unconscious that he was have lived all our lives in Carlingbeing put up again at that moment ford without knowing above half with acclamations upon his pedes- of the poor people,” said Mrs Mortal, as that he had at a former time gan, growing in warmth as she went been violently displaced from it, on; "it is so different in a country and thrown into the category of parish. I never liked to say anybroken idols. All this would have thing," she continued, with subtle been as Sanscrit to the Rector of feminine policy,“but I never-much Carlingford ; and the only resource -cared for Carlingford.” She gave he had was to make in his own a sigh as she spoke, for she thought mind certain half - pitying, half- of the Virginian creeper and the affectionate remarks upon the in- five feet of new wall at that side explicable weakness of women, and of the garden, which had just been to pick up the stocking which his completed, to shut out the view of wife was darning, and finally to the train.' Life does not contain stroke her hair, which was still as any perfect pleasure. But when pretty and soft and brown as it had Mrs Morgan stooped to lift up some been ten years ago. Under such stray reels of cotton which the circumstances a man does not ob- Rector's clumsy male fingers had ject to feel himself on a platform dropped out of her workbox, her of moral superiority. He even eye was again attracted by the began to pet her a little, with a gigantic roses and tulips on the pleasant sense of forgiveness and carpet, and content and satisfacforbearance. “You were perhaps tion filled her heart. a little cross, my love, but you “I have felt the same thing, my don't think I am a man to be hard dear,” said Mr Morgan. “I don't upon you," said the Rector. “Now say anything against Mr Finial you must dry your eyes and give as an architect, but Scott himself me your advice-you know how could make nothing of such a hidemuch confidence I have always had ous church. I don't suppose Wentin your advice- "

worth will mind," said the Rector, "Forgive me, William. I don't with a curious sense of superiority. think there is any one so good as He felt his own magnanimous conyou are; and as long as we are to- duct at the moment almost as gether it does not matter to me much as his wife had done, and where we are," said the repentant could not help regarding Carlingwoman. But as she lifted up her ford Church as the gift-horse which head, her eye fell on the carpet, was not to be examined too closely and a gleam of sudden delight in the mouth.

“No," said Mrs Morgan, not fore her. Had Mr Morgan been a without a passing sensation of doubt Frenchman, he probably would on this point; "if he had only been have imagined his wife's heart to frank and explained everything, be touched by the graces of the Perthere never could have been any petual Curate; but being an Engmistake ; but I am glad it has all lishman, and rather more certain, happened,” said the Rector's wife, on the whole, of her than of himwith a little enthusiasm. “Oh, self, it did not occur to him to William, I have been such a wretch speculate on the subject. He was - I have been thinking—but now quite able to content himself with you are heaping coals of fire on his the thought that women were incomhead," she cried, with a hysterical prehensible, as he went back to his sound in her throat. It was no study. To be sure, it was best to matter to her that she herself understand them, if you could ; but scarcely knew what she meant, and if not, it did not so very much matthat the good Rector had not the ter, Mr Morgan thought; and in faintest understanding of it. She this pleasant condition of mind he was so glad, that it was almost ne- went down-stairs and wrote a little cessary to be guilty of some extra sermon, which ever after was a vagance by way of relieving her great favourite, preached upon all mind. “ After all Mr Proctor's care special occasions, and always lisin fitting the furniture, you would tened to with satisfaction, espenot, of course, think of removing cially by the Rector's wife. it,” said Mrs Morgan; “Mr Went. When Mrs Morgan was left alone worth will take it as we did ; and she sat doing nothing for an entire as for Mrs Scarsfield, if you like half-hour, thinking of the strange her, William, you may be sure I and unhoped - for change that in shall," the penitent wife said softly a moment had occurred to her. in the flutter and tremor of her Though she was not young, she had agitation; as he saw himself re- that sense of the grievousness, the flected in her eyes, the Rector unbearableness of trouble, which could not but feel himself a supe- belongs to youth; for, after all, rior person, elevated over other whatever female moralists may say men's shoulders. Such a sense of on the subject, the patience of an goodness promotes the amiability unmarried woman wearing out her from which it springs. The Rector youth in the harassments of a long kissed his wife as he got up from engagement, is something very difhis seat beside her, and once more ferent from the hard and manysmoothed down, with a touch which sided experience of actual life. She made her feel like a girl again, her had been accustomed for years to pretty brown hair.

think that her troubles would be “ That is all settled satisfactori- over when the long-expected event ly," said Mr Morgan, “and now I arrived ; and when new and more must go to my work again. I vexatious troubles still sprang up thought, if you approved of it, I after that event, the woman of one would write at once to Scarsfield, idea was not much better fitted to and also to Buller of All-Souls.” meet them than if she had been a

“Do," said the Rector's wife- girl. Now that the momentary and she too bestowed, in her mid- cloud had been driven off, Mrs dle-aged way, a little caress, which Morgan's heart rose more warmly was far from being unpleasant to than ever. She changed her mind the sober-minded man. He went in a moment about the All-Souls down-stairs in a more agreeable pudding, and even added, in her frame of mind than he had known imagination, another dish to the for a long time back. Not that he dinner, without pausing to think understood why she had cried about that that also was much approved it when he laid his intentions be- by Mr Leeson; and then her

thoughts took another turn, and me a fairweather friend seeking such a vision of a perfect carpet you only when everybody else is for a drawing - room - something seeking you, and when you are no softer and more exquisite than ever longer in want of support and symcame out of mortal loom; full of pathy. Perhaps you will exculpate repose and tranquillity, yet not me when you remember the last without seducing beauties of de conversation we had ; but what I sign; a carpet which would never write for at present is to ask if you obtrude itself, but yet would catch would waive ceremony, and come the eye by dreamy moments in to dinner with us to-night. I am the summer twilight or over the aware that your family are still in winter fire-flashed upon the ima- Carlingford, and of course I don't gination of the Rector's wife. It know what engagements you may would be sweet to have a house of have; but if you are at liberty, one's own arranging, where every- pray come. If Mr Morgan and you thing would be in harmony; and had but known each other a little though this sweetness was very better, things could never have secondary to the other satisfaction happened which have been a great of having a husband who was not grief and vexation to me, and I a elay idol, but really deserved his know the Rector wishes very much pedestal, it yet supplemented the to bave a little conversation with larger delight, and rounded off all you, and has something to speak of the corners of Mrs Morgan's present in which you would be interested. desires. She wished everybody as Perhaps my husband might feel a happy as herself, in the effusion of little strange in asking you to overthe moment, and thought of Lucy step the barrier which somehow has Wodehouse, with a little glow of been raised between you two ; but friendliness in which there was I am sure if you knew each other still a tincture of admiring envy. better you would understand each All this that happy girl would have other, and this is one of the things without the necessity of waiting we women ought to be good for. I for it; but then was it not the will take it as a proof that you conRector, the rehabilitated husband, sider me a friend if you accept my who would be the means of pro- invitation. Our hour is half-past ducing so much happiness? Mrs six. - Believe me, very sincerely, Morgan rose up as lightly as a girl yours,

M. MORGAN." when she had reached this stage, and opened her writing - desk, When she had written this note which was one of her wedding. Mrs Morgan went down-stairs, stoppresents, and too fine to be used ping at the library-door in passing. on common occasions. She took " I thought I might as well ask Mr out her prettiest paper with her Wentworth to come to us to-night, monogram in violet, which was her as we are to have some people to favourite colour. One of those dinner,” she said, looking in at the kind impulses which are born of door. “I thought you might like happiness moved her relieved spirit. to talk to him, William ; and if his To give to another the consolation people are going away to-day, I of a brighter hope seemed at the daresay he will feel rather lonely moment the most natural way of to-night." Such was the Jesuitical expressing her own thankful feels aspect in which she represented the ings. Instead of going down-stairs flag of truce she was sending. Mr immediately to order dinner, she Morgan was a little startled by acsat down instead at the table, and tion so prompt. wrote the following note :

“I should like to hear from Bul

ler first,” said the Rector; "he “MY DEAR MR WENTWORTH,-I might like to come to Carlingford don't know whether you will think himself, for anything I can tell ; but, to be sure, it can do no harm to similar experiences. When she had have Wentworth to dinner," said got through her visit and was going Mr Morgan, doubtfully; “ only home, it struck her with considerBuller, you know, might wish—and able surprise to see the cab still in that case it might not be worth lingering about the corner of Pricour trouble to make any change.” kett's Lane. Was Elsworthy's pet

In spite of herself, Mrs Morgan's boy delivering his newspapers from countenance fell ; her pretty scheme that dignified elevation ? or were of poetic justice, her vision of they seizing the opportunity of tasteful and appropriate furniture, conveying away the unfortunate became obscured by a momentary little girl who had caused so much mist. “At least it is only right annoyance to everybody! When to ask him to dinner,” she said, in she went closer, with a little nasubdued tones, and went to speak tural curiosity to see what else to the cook in a frame of mind might be inside besides the furtive more like the common level of errand-boy, the cab made a little human satisfaction than that exult- rush away from her, and the blinds ant and exalted strain to which she were drawn down. Mrs Morgan had risen at the first moment. Then smiled a little to herself with digshe put on a black dress, and went nified calm. “As if it was anyto call on the Miss Wodehouses, thing to me!" she said to herself ; who naturally came into her mind and so went home to put out the when she thought of the Perpetual dessert with her own hands. She Curate. As she went along Grange even cut a few fronds of her favLane she could not but observe a ourite maiden-hair to decorate the hackney cab, one of those which peaches, of which she could not belonged to the railway station, help being a little proud. “I must lounging—if a cab could ever be speak to Mr Wentworth, if he comes, said to lounge-in the direction of to keep on Thompson,” she said to Wharfside. Its appearance spe- herself, and then gave a momentary cially attracted Mrs Morgan's at- sigh at thought of the new flue, tention in consequence of the ap- which was as good as her own inparition of Elsworthy's favourite vention, and which it had cost her errand-boy, who now and then both time and money to arrange to poked his head furtively through her satisfaction. The peaches were the window, and seemed to be sit lovely, but who could tell what ting in state inside. When she had they might be next year if a new gone a little farther she encountered Rector came who took no interest Wodehouse and Jack Wentworth, in the garden ?- for Thompson, who had just come from paying though he was a very good servant, their visit to the sisters. The sight required to be looked after, as inof these two revived her sympa. deed most good servants do. Mrs thies for the lonely women who Morgan sighed a little when she had fallen so unexpectedly out of thought of all her past exertions wealth into poverty ; but yet she and the pains, of which she was felt a little difficulty in framing scarcely yet beginning to reap her countenance to be partly sor- the fruit. One man labours, and rowful and partly congratulatory, another enters into his labours. as was necessary under these cir- One thing, however, was a little cumstances ; for though she knew consolatory, that she could take her nothing of the accident which had ferns with her. But on the whole, happened that morning, when Lucy after the first outburst of feeling, and the Perpetual Curate saw each the idea of change, notwithstandother alone, she was aware of Miss ing all its advantages, was in itWodehouse's special position, and self, like most human things, a was sympathetic as became a doubtful pleasure. To be sure, it woman who had “gone through” was only through its products that her feelings were interested about the most valuable decorations of the new flue, whereas the drawing the Pectory? This kind of breakroom carpet was a standing griev- age, if not more real, was at least ance. When it was time to dress likely to force itself more upon the for dinner, the Rector's wife was senses than the other kind of fracnot nearly so sure as before that ture which this morning's explanashe had never liked Carlingford. tion had happily averted ; and altoShe began to forget the thoughts gether it was with mingled feelshe had entertained about broken ing that Mrs Morgan entered the idols, and to remember a number drawing-room, and found it occuof inconveniences attending a re- pied by Mr Leeson, who always moval. Who would guarantee the came too early, and who, on the safe transit of the china, not to speak present occasion, had some suffiof the old china, which was one of ciently strange news to tell.

THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS REPORT

II. HARROW AND RUGBY.

The two public schools which ration at the energy and ability stand next after Eton, in the with which these great schools are present day, in point of reputation administered. No Rugby or Harand numbers, are Harrow and row man, at all events, will endorse Rugby. They offer many conve- Lord Malmesbury's strange protest nient points of comparison. Their against telling the whole truth, or history has been remarkably similar. suggest, as he does, that a little Founded within a very few years cooking of the accounts for the of each other, early in the reign of public eye would have made things Elizabeth, both by private indivi- more pleasant. That the tangible duals of the middle class, they have results of the education in both both risen, by a combination of schools, so far as the mass of the circumstances which their founders boys is concerned, is to a certain could never have foreseen, from the extent disappointing - that they position of mere small town or share in common with others, more village grammar-schools to be the or less, in that failure which the public training-ground of English Commissioners note in their Report, gentlemen, second only, even as far and which has been so largely disas name and fashion are concerned, cussed in every quarter since,-this to Henry VII.'s "antique towers;" is a fact of which none are more and in the more important matter painfully conscious than the most of distinguished scholarship and devoted teachers on their staff; it is liberal training, claiming each for a failure which these are the first to themselves, and with some justice, confess and lament, which they are to be second to none. The search- making exertions year after year ing ordeal of a Royal Commission, to meet by some new adaptation if it has disclosed some short of their work, and for which they comings common to public-school would be only too thankful if any education generally-in some degree Royal Commission were omnipotent almost inseparable from the system enough to find a remedy. It is the -has brought out a body of evi- failure common to all lofty aims dence which forms the strongest which are directed at elevating a plea ever put on record in favour large aggregate of human minds; of the system itself, and which, in the ideal, or even any reasonable all its main bearings, must strike approach to it, is only realised every impartial reader with admi- here and there. It is a disappoint

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