DR. DEANE'S GOVERNESS.
I DO not like
this title. It should have been Dr. Deane's Children's
Governess but that sounds awkward, and we English are fond of
clipping out all words that are not uttered with ease. We
never say, Mrs. Richardson's Children's Governess, or Mrs.
Chichester's Children's Governess,—so let it be Dr. Deane's
Governess, it will save trouble.
Dr. Deane's governess, Miss Ann Salter, was quietly seated,
about three o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, by the window of a
pleasant little carpeted room, which was evidently used as a
schoolroom. The sun shone in at the window; the light air was
blowing in a good many petals of China roses. Four children
were playing outside, three girls and a boy, the latter about six
years old, and the girls all older.
Miss Ann Salter had a book in her hands; and I can put you in
possession of her attitude at once, if you have ever seen a pretty
print called 'The Governess,' by saying that precisely and exactly
in the position of 'The Governess,' sat Miss Ann Salter. If
you wish to know whether she had seen the print in question, I am
happy to informs you (it being my desire to oblige you with all
proper information) that she had.
But if you yourself have not seen this print, I must tell you
that it represents a very pretty pensive-looking girl, sitting quite
alone, with her feet upon a stool, her hands dropped on her knees,
and an open letter in them. Her hair is drawn in a braid from
her cheek, and one long curl falls on her neck. She is dressed
in deep mourning, and is evidently musing over this letter from home
perhaps it is from a bereaved mother. There are globes in her
room, and slates and maps, and children's dogs'-eared books; so
there are in the room where Miss Ann Salter sits. But she is
not in mourning. She is dressed in a gown of a light-brown
colour, with three flounces, a stripe of blue at the edge of each,
and a very pretty collar and cuffs of her own work. It is
always best to be particular in describing these little matters,
because it prevents mistakes.
The hands and feet represented in the print are unnaturally
small. Miss Ann Salter's, however, were of the usual
dimensions; her hair, dressed exactly like that of 'The Governess,'
was smooth, abundant, and of a somewhat sandy hue. She had
very light eyebrows and eyelashes, and her face, young, healthy, and
plump as it was, had no pretensions to beauty, or even to good
looks, excepting when she was laughing or looking very animated;
then it was a pleasant young face enough, and as fresh as a
At the time of which we speak her face was very gently
pensive, though it was a half-holiday, though she had a new book on
her lap, and though it was quarter-day.
Perhaps she had been seated twenty minutes in this position,
when one of her little pupils ran up to the window, and exclaimed,
'O Miss Salter, Johnnie has got papa's great squirt, and he is
squirting the roses!' Thereupon Miss Salter started up, and in
a voice a little sharp for such a pensive heroine, exclaimed,
looking forth from the window, 'Johnnie, you naughty boy, bring that
squirt to me immediately;' and Johnnie reluctantly approached the
arbiter of his fate with a large greenhouse syringe under his arm.
'How came you to take that asked?' Miss Salter, with
'It was only just inside the greenhouse door,' said the
chubby little culprit; 'and I've only just been squirting some bees
that had got into the roses.'
'Put it back directly,' said Miss Salter.
'Mayn't I just squirt the rest of the water out first?' asked
'No,' replied the governess, 'you may not; and you are not to
be always saying, I only just did this and that. It is
very naughty to make excuses; put back the squirt directly where you
Thereupon the little boy slowly turned away, and carried his
stolen plaything across a well-ordered lawn, under some tall
fir-trees, and along a gravel walk, till he reached a greenhouse,
his governess watching him till she saw him put down the squirt and
come out again. She then withdrew her head and shoulders from
the canopy of roses, clematis, and passion-flower into which she had
been leaning, and at the same moment a respectable elderly servant
opened the door behind her, and said, 'Master has come in, Miss
Salter, and wishes to speak to you, if you please.'
Oh, quarter-day, thought Miss Salter, and answered, 'Very
well, Andrew, I will come.'
As she approached the study door, it was opened, and three
female servants issued from it. 'How painful it is,' she
thought, 'to be paid my salary just at the same time that they
receive their wages. I have no doubt they know why I am
summoned just now.'
Dr. Deane was going over some accounts with an old lady who
superintended his household. He looked up pleasantly, and
said, 'Sit down, Miss Salter; I thought I should have been ready for
you, but you see there are more last words.—Well, Mrs. Mills, it
certainly does seem a great deal to pay for meat at this time of the
year, especially when there is plenty of grass.'
'Oh, it's a shameful price; Doctor, quite shameful! I
told Curtis I was sure you would not go on with him,' said the old
lady, looking quite irate.
'What an interest Mrs. Mills takes in her stupid
housekeeping!' thought Miss Salter, sitting down, and falling quite
naturally into the attitude of 'The Governess.' 'Really one
would have thought it was a matter of life and death to save the
Dr. Deane went on with the accounts, and presently said,
'Well, Mrs. Mills, it is as you say, and we had better change our
'That is exactly what I expected you to say, Doctor,'
proceeded Mrs. Mills. 'I said to Curtis only yesterday, "You
are your own enemy, Curtis; you raise the price of meat till you
either lose your customers, or induce them to make up with poultry
and fish." "Well, ma'am," said he, "I hope you will not lose
me a good customer by complaining of my prices to the Doctor."
"Indeed," said I, "I shall think it my duty to mention it; I should
consider myself unfaithful to my trust if I did not."'
Thereupon followed a discussion as to what butcher should be
employed; it lasted five minutes, and while they pass, and while
Miss Salter still sits in the attitude of 'The Governess,' we will
look about us and describe what we see.
We see that the room is a small one, and that its floor is
covered with a faded green carpet, which is all the worse for the
chemical experiments made by its owner; there are many books, but
they are all locked up in glass cases. In glass cases, also,
are displayed numerous skeletons of small animals, mice, moles,
birds, and cats; and in trays protected by glass, lie metallic
treasures and specimens of ore from the gold-fields.
Altogether the room has a cold, shut-up, and glassy effect, not at
all home-like, and very much the reverse of comfortable.
But the Doctor himself, whom we also see, looks as if he
could make any room comfortable; he is a fine man with a keen black
eye that seems to be always on the look-out for symptoms, a thick
black eyebrow, and a thick head of iron-grey hair; he looks about
fifty years of age, has regular features, a delightfully cordial
smile, but an abrupt manner, and what the poor call a very
out-spoken way with him.
As his old friend, Mrs. Mills, left the room, Dr. Deane
turned suddenly to Miss Salter, who straightway changed her
'Miss Salter,' said he, 'you have not looked quite the thing
lately. What is it? headache?'
'O no, sir,' said the Governess, blushing.
'O no, sir! why, one would think it was a shame to have the
headache. By the bye, I don't wish the children to drink any
more of that beer; Andrew tells me it is quite sour,—the thunder, no
doubt. Did you drink any of it at dinner to-day?'
'Yes, a little; but it is not particularly sour; and I am
quite well, sir, indeed,' said Miss Salter, blushing more than ever,
and perfectly shocked at the notion that, if she did not look 'quite
the thing,' it was in consequence of drinking sour beer.
'Then you really feel perfectly well?' asked Dr. Deane.
'Perfectly well, I assure you, sir.'
'Humph,' said the Doctor. 'Well, Miss Salter, you and I
generally have a little conversation on quarter-day; and if you have
anything to mention, or to complain of, now is the time. My
wish is, as far as I can, to meet your reasonable expectations.
Do you find that Johnnie is growing too much of a Turk for you?
I know the rogue is always in mischief.'
'No; he is pretty good generally, I think, when he is in the
schoolroom; and the little girls are very orderly.'
'And your father and all your family are well, I know: I saw
them yesterday. Your father seemed in capital spirits—said the
crops were finer than he had known them for years. Well, Miss
Salter, have you anything to remark upon?'
Miss Salter considered, and then answered, thoughtfully, 'No,
sir; there really is nothing particular to mention that I know of.'
'Nothing that you wish altered? Then I suppose you wish
to retain your situation?'
'If you are satisfied, Dr. Deane.'
'I certainly do not wish that we should part. I have
found you a conscientious, good girl, and fully clever enough for my
dear little dunderheads. You neither neglect them nor overwork
them. And besides, having known you ever since you were born,
and all your family having been patients of mine so many years, I
naturally feel that you are likely to be more comfortable with me
than a perfect stranger would be, and also that the highest
testimonials would not enable me to trust a stranger as I do you.'
An expression of great pleasure came over the face of Miss
Ann Salter. 'Thank you, sir,' she said; 'I am satisfied, and
much obliged to you for—for—'
'For my good opinion, eh?' said the physician, with a smile.
'Well, but now I am going to scold.' Miss Salter looked up
rather alarmed, and blushed, with a sort of conscious look, which
told plainly that she suspected what was going to be said.
'The fact is,' proceeded Dr. Deane, 'that I should be very
glad if you would try to look as you say you feel. You have
told me that the children behave reasonably well, and that you are
in good health, and quite comfortable. What I wish is, that
you should appear so. When first you came to us, and, indeed,
till quite lately, you were as ready for any sort of expedition or
amusement as the children themselves — such a hand at a nutting!—in
such spirits at hop-picking time! Now you walk about with your
head hanging down, and have the air of appearing to think that it is
quite derogatory to smile, and— Well, well, I did not mean to make
you uncomfortable; but I should be glad, Miss Salter, to see you
cheerful again, and, in short — contented.'
'Contented, sir!' exclaimed Miss Salter, in a tone of
astonishment and vexation.
'Well, perhaps I am wrong—I beg your pardon if I am—I will
change the word, and say, I should be glad to see you less
'One cannot always prevent such feelings,' said Miss Salter,
with downcast eyes. 'Depression is the result of
'You are wrong, Miss Salter.'
'I say you are mistaken. Depression of spirits, when it
is real, and when people cannot help it, comes, in ninety-nine cases
out of a hundred, from dyspepsia, or from a disordered liver—in
short, from bodily causes.'
'Surely, sir, that is looking at it with a physician's eyes!'
exclaimed Miss Salter, looking not a little vexed.
'And that is how one must look at it who knows anything about
it. When people are in perfectly sound health, they may feel
acute sorrow, deep anxiety, the keenest distress of mind, the most
painful agitation—they may suffer from disappointment, from remorse,
from a thousand other of "the ills that flesh is heir to," but not
from that lumpish, spiritless feeling, that you and I are talking of
by the name of depression, unless they are brooding over something
in their lot that displeases them. In short, what I want to
say, and what I want you to reflect upon is this, that as a
physician I give it you as my candid opinion, that what we now
understand each other to mean by depression is either disease or
'I am sorry you should have thought me discontented,'
observed Miss Salter, slowly, though without any appearance of
ill-temper; 'but, with such a theory, sir, I do not see how you
could have thought otherwise.'
'I talk to you with more freedom,' was the reply, 'than I
could do if I merely stood in the position of an employer. I
also have the superintendence of your health. Not that it has
ever caused me much anxiety: you were always a cheerful, healthy,
little romping child, full of life and activity. You came to
me, and I think I may say that your natural characteristics have not
been unduly restrained; indeed, your excellent spirits and love of
out-of-door life, have been to me one of your chief recommendations.
Well, I was highly pleased with you, and I believed you were just as
well pleased with us, till all on a sudden I happened to say to you
one day, at the early dinner—(I remember it was the very day after
Fanny came to stay with me)—"Will you take some more beef, Miss
Salter?" and you turned your face slowly to me, and said, "No, thank
you, sir," with such a pensive voice, and with such an air of
patient meekness, that I declare I felt for the moment as if I must
be a jailer who deprived you of your liberty, or a host that
abridged you of your food. Now I have done; and I am sure you
will endeavour to alter your manner in this particular. Here
is your cheque: take it with the pleasant reflection that you have
earned it well, and that I think so.'
Now Miss Salter had an excellent temper, and considerable
self-control. Probably she felt annoyed at this
plain-speaking; but if she did, she did not show it, but took her
cheque, and perhaps would have said something to the effect that she
would give the subject her best attention, if at that moment a knock
had not been heard outside the door, which was followed by the
entrance of a pretty girl, tall, slender, and yellow-haired.
She was elegantly attired in a glossy dress of light-shining silk, a
graceful mantle, and a white bonnet, and as she entered she
'Uncle, the pony-chaise is coming round. Are you
'Yes, my dear,' said Dr. Deane. 'But stop, this is
pay-day, Fanny, and I will give you your allowance.'
'Oh, thank you, uncle!' exclaimed Fanny, shaking back her
long curls. 'I am sure I shall be very thankful for it, I am
so poor am I not, Annie? Do you know, uncle, I was obliged to
borrow a sovereign of Miss Salter, because you insisted on not
giving me my money till quarter-day.'
'Fanny, Fanny, you are a very extravagant child. Why,
even when people earn their money, I never pay them beforehand.
And you, you little useless, idle thing, you that are only a
consumer, and not a producer, you actually want to coax me to pay
you money that you never earned before the time when I agreed to pay
it; and because I will not, you little drone, you go and borrow of
the industrious bee. I wonder you trusted her, Miss Salter!
There; count your money, child, and tell me whether it is right.'
'No, uncle; one sovereign too much.'
'Then pay your debt with it, like an honest young woman.
And now, remember that I never mean to do this again; I am
"principled against it," as the Americans say.' So saying, Dr.
Deane bustled out of the room, leaving the two girls together.
'Here is your sovereign, dear,' said Fanny to Miss Salter.
'Was it not lucky that I chanced to mention having borrowed it?
I had not the least notion that uncle would give it me.'
'Nor I,' remarked Miss Salter; 'the Doctor considers it quite
wrong, you know, to exceed one's income. Really, Fanny, I
think you should be more careful.'
'So I will, dear,' said Fanny, stooping to kiss her.
Fanny was tall but exceedingly slender; and though very graceful,
had not the agreeable air of health presented by the Governess.
'I thought I had been careful till I found my money was all gone,'
'No wonder, if you have three new bonnets in one summer.'
'Why, you would not have me wear a dingy bonnet, would you?'
'No, but I would not have you wear a delicate, gauzy thing
like this, in the dusty road, during a drive. A straw-bonnet
would look as well and more appropriate to-day. Stoop a
little, will you, it is not quite straight.' Fanny stooped.
Miss Salter adjusted the bonnet to her mind, shook out the folds of
her gown, and altered the set of the mantle.
'Have you not been talking some time with my uncle?' asked
Fanny. 'I thought when I came in you looked uncomfortable.'
'I only looked as I felt then,' said Miss Salter, sighing.
'Oh, well, I must say if my uncle is not pleased that Johnny
is so noisy, that I think it is more his fault than yours; for
really, Annie, I am sure he pets him more than he does the little
girls. However,' said Fanny, reflecting that this was no
business of hers, 'my uncle is very kind to all the children, and to
'It was not about Johnnie that he spoke,' said Miss Salter,
blushing again at the recollection of the lecture she had received;
'he thinks—he intimated that I was—I don't know that I can tell you
now I will some other time.'
As she spoke, an expression of the gentlest pity came over
the fair face that was looking down into hers, and its owner said
with a sigh, and in a tone of sympathy, 'Dear Annie.'
'Of course I must expect this kind of thing in my painful
position,' said Miss Salter.
'Yes,' said Fanny, with more sincerity than wisdom or
knowledge of what she was talking about; 'but it is a great comfort
to know that all the trials of the Christian shall "work together
for good." I am afraid, dear, that you have felt your position
more than usual lately. I noticed this morning that you looked
particularly depressed.' At the mention of this word Miss
Salter sighed; but as a loud, cheerful voice was heard in the hall,
calling, 'Fanny, Fanny! come, child, I am ready,' Fanny hastily ran
out, and Miss Salter retired to her room, where she put on her hat,
and went into the garden.
'Uncle,' said Fanny, when they had driven about a quarter of
a mile, 'don'ts you think Miss Salter has looked rather depressed
lately?' She said this partly from a little feeling of womanly
curiosity, and partly because, in her kind heart, she had found a
place for the Governess.
'Depressed?' said Dr. Deane; 'yes, my dear, I have been
talking to her about it this morning.'
'Have you, uncle?' replied Fanny. She longed to ask
another question, but did not dare.
'O Fanny, Fanny, mind I never see you pursing up your mouth,
and looking as if you were trying hard not to laugh when anything
droll is said in your presence. And then if you really cannot
help laughing, never let me see you turning away your face to hide
it, and heaving up a sigh to show that you are determined not to be
'Does Miss Salter do so?' asked Fanny, with her natural
simplicity. 'Yes, I think I have noticed it; but, however, one
naturally makes allowance for her, and it is no wonder she feels
pensive. Obliged to descend from her position in society,
separated from her family, poor girl, obliged to work for her
living, always seeing those about her who are in superior
'Why, is not Lucy, the dairymaid, separated from her family,
and obliged to work for her living, and to see those about her who
are in superior circumstances; and does she look depressed?'
'Oh, no; but she was most likely always brought up to know
that she was to go to service.'
'Does that circumstance make service agreeable to her?'
'Yes, I suppose so, uncle.'
'How do you know that Miss Salter had not the advantage of
knowing that she was to be a governess? Have you inquired?'
'No, uncle; I took it for granted that she had not.'
'And what else have you taken for granted, Fanny? Tell
me, for I think I see a ray of light breaking through obscurity.'
'I don't know what you mean, uncle.'
'Never mind that, give me your views, and tell me what you
have been pleased to take for granted, respecting governesses in
'I have read a good many interesting stories,' said Fanny,
hesitating, that had a governess for their heroine. The last I
read was particularly interesting, and it made me feel that, as a
class, they deserved a great deal of consideration, and—I don't
exactly know how to say what I mean, but when I came here I felt
that I ought to be particularly polite and friendly to Miss Salter,
and to feel a great deal of pity for her.'
'Humph! now give me a sketch of the story.'
'Oh, the heroine is a tall, dark-eyed, lovely creature,
brought up in the greatest luxury, and accustomed to associate with
refined people. Her father loses all his property, and dies.
The story opens with her taking leave of her bereaved mother.
They are so poor that she is obliged to take her long journey in the
depth of winter, on the top of a coach, and she reaches her first
place at night. And the story goes on to say that the people
are very vulgar, and treat her with the greatest insolence and
harshness, particularly the master of the house, who dislikes her
from the first.'
'But she, no doubt, is a miracle of patience and discretion?'
'Yes, uncle, she is very unhappy, but bears all with the
sweetest meekness, though she often retires to her own room to weep,
and think over the happy past; and then it goes on to say that she
saves one of the children's lives, and the house is just going to be
robbed, but she overhears the thieves talking and disclosing their
plans behind a hedge.'
'A likely incident! Well, go on.'
'It ends not quite so naturally as it begins. She
'Of course she does! The eldest son lives at home.
He is a paragon of elegance and excellence, in spite of his vulgar
bringing up. He is also particularly handsome; she marries
'Nothing of the sort, uncle.'
'Then she marries the curate; I know she marries the curate!
and immediately after, his rich uncle comes from India, lives with
them, dies blessing them, and leaves them all his fortune.'
'No, she doesn't, uncle. She marries a young baronet,
who is struck with the pensive sweetness of her face, as she takes
the children out for a walk.'
'But the most interesting part of the story is her journal,'
proceeded Fanny, 'with the description of all her lonely feelings;
really it is quite harrowing to read it,—such beautiful resignation,
and, at the same time, such melancholy.'
'Pray, my dear, have you talked over this story, and
especially this journal, with Miss Salter?'
'Oh, Fanny, Fanny, you exceedingly silly little goose.'
'I DO not know
why you should call me silly, uncle,' said Fanny, looking very much
disconcerted; 'I am sure I have always meant to be kind to Miss
'My dear, your kindness was commendable. What I
complain of is your habit of taking things for granted, and acting
as if things were proved, because you have no doubt concerning them.
But I am going to this farm-house. Now, be discreet, and do
not say anything without reflection.'
'What can it matter what I say here?' thought Fanny.
'People living in such a place are not likely to be great observers
of manners or of cultivated language, I should think.'
Fanny's face showed her thoughts so plainly, that Dr. Deane
said in answer to it: 'Fanny, my child, take my advice, and think
before you speak here. The good woman of the house is no
gentlewoman but I would not have you hurt her feelings for a good
Fanny was surprised, but said nothing, though her uncle's
warning made her look about her attentively. There was
nothing, as she thought, to reward scrutiny. The farm-house,
instead of being a delightful old thatched building, with
picturesque gables, and walls covered with vines, was an ugly red
brick house, square, neat, new, and undecorated by any graceful
creepers. There was a barn in full view, and some turkeys were
strutting about before it; a stout, red-armed country girl was
putting potatoes into a trough for their meal; and there was a large
duck-pond near the front-parlour window which was well stocked with
poultry, whose white feathers were strewed thickly over the grass.
As the pony-chaise stopped before the door of the square red
house, a pleasant-looking woman stepped out, and welcomed the doctor
with, 'You're quite a stranger, sir.'
'And very glad to be so,' replied Dr. Deane. 'You can
hardly see too little of the doctor, eh, my good friend?'
The farmer's wife laughed good-humouredly at this little
sally. She was short, plump, healthy-looking, and had a tone
in her voice and a look in her eyes that seemed familiar to Fanny,
she hardly knew why.
'You'll excuse my shaking hands, sir,' said she, 'and you
too, Miss,' curtseying to Fanny; 'for I've been picking walnuts all
the morning, and they make the hands as black as ink. Come in,
By this time they had alighted, and the Doctor said,
presenting Fanny, 'This is a great friend of your daughter's; Mrs.
Salter, my niece; Fanny, this is Miss Salter's mother.'
'I am sure I am much obliged to the young lady for taking
notice of my Annie,' said Mrs. Salter.
Fanny's surprise, which caused the clear colour to flush up
all over her face, was far too great to admit of her saying a word;
and it was fortunate for her that she was following Mrs. Salter into
the parlour, and that the little bustle of setting chairs, and
making her visitors comfortable, was occupying that worthy matron's
attention till she had in some degree recovered herself. Then
Mrs. Salter recurred to the subject, and said, 'It must be very
pleasant for my Annie to have such a nice young lady to speak to.'
'Yes, they are great friends, indeed,' replied the Doctor;
'young people are generally companionable.'
'To be sure, sir,' said Mrs. Salter, still keeping her
admiring eyes upon Fanny, 'young people can run up a friendship in a
day. And my Annie has plenty to talk about; dear me, when she
gets a holiday, and comes over to see us, her tongue never stops,
Fanny was still mute; Miss Salter's home and Miss Salter's
mother were so different to anything she had imagined, that she
could not find anything to say; but she sufficiently recovered her
powers of observation to notice that there was a somewhat strong
smell of tobacco in the room.
'Well, sir, and how is my dear girl? quite well, I hope,'
said the fond mother.
'Very well, indeed, she told me so herself this morning; and
would have sent her duty, I am sure, if she had known I was coming
here, but she did not; indeed, I did not know it myself; but I found
I had a quarter of an hour to spare, so I thought I would bring my
niece to see you.'
'Thank you, sir, for the visit. I'm always pleased to
hear that my Annie is well; being my only girl, I feel more for her
than for my great rough boys; and though I know that she has had a
rise in life, I sometimes wish I had her with me, for all that.'
A pretty white kitten at this moment pushed open the door,
and Fanny, having nothing to say, was glad to call it to come and
sit on her knee, while silently listening with some shame and a
great deal of surprise to the conversation which followed.
'I have sometimes wondered why you spared her to live away
from home, as she is your only daughter,' observed the Doctor.
'Why, you see, sir,' replied the mother, 'John and me, we
married very young, and we were, I may say, badly off for a good
many years, we had such a large family; farming, too, is not what
farming used to be, so that altogether, what with bad seasons, and
many mouths to feed, I assure you, though I don't wish to complain,
that few people have known what it is to look at every penny before
they parted with it more than we have. Well, at last, after my
nine boys, Annie was born, and very fond we all were of her, natural
enough we should be; but my boys were so rough, that they soon made
a complete tomboy of her, that they did, bless her! and I was so
taken up with my dairy, and the poultry, that try as I would, I
could not find time to teach her. I managed to teach her to
read, and her eldest brother would set her a sum now and then, but
she almost ran wild; though she could milk a cow prettily enough
when she was nine years old, and was mighty fond of picking fruit
for market, and cramming turkeys. I was beginning to wonder
how I could ever manage to get schooling for her, when my husband's
mother came to live with us; she soon saw how things were going on,
and one day she said to me, "Anne, I know you have hard work to get
on, paying all their own, and giving the boys their learning.
And," says she, "the two hundred and fifty pounds that I have saved,
John should have, and welcome, to lay out on his farm, only that I
know better than to think he would take it of me while I am alive;
and as for the boys, they will soon be a help to you, and able to
earn their own living; but this little Annie," says she, "that is as
bright as the day, it often lies like a weight on my mind, that if
anything should happen to her father there is nothing for her but to
go to service." "Mother," said I, "we must put our trust in
God. John here has the best of health, and I am stout and
active for my age, so I hope for the best; but I do not deny that I
should like to see my Annie married before I die." Well, she
was a very short-spoken woman, and when I said that, "Married," said
she; "husbands that are worth having are not so easy to come at!"
She did, indeed, sir. So says I, "Grandmother, I am sure John
and I would always wish to take your advice about the dear child, as
is no more than our duty, so speak your mind." However, she
never said a word; but next market-day, just as I was ready to start
off for G―― in the spring-cart, she
came down, and says she, "I am going with you." I put her down
at the Miss Jessops' school, and I took her up again when I had sold
my poultry and butter; she never said a word, good or bad, till we
got home and supper was over, then she said, "John and Anne, I've
been to the Miss Jessops, who I hear from our vicar keep the best
school in the town, and I have made an agreement with them that, if
you are willing, they shall have Annie for six years for my money;
and then whatever happens she will be independent, and able to get
her bread." Of course, we were agreeable to let her go, and
very thankful. Her grandmother had the pleasure of seeing her
in your house, and of feeling that she was now independent before
'Ah, I always thought your husband's mother was a sensible
woman,' observed Dr. Deane.
'Yes, sir, she really was. And the good education she
gave Annie has been quite a rise in life for her, as I tell her.
And though her grandmother did talk about husbands being hard to
get,—my Annie—why, dear me, I know a young man that would—however,
I'll say no more about that,' continued Mrs. Salter, bridling.
The Doctor smiled, and Mrs. Salter having already remarked
that she should say no more about it, continued in a reflective
tone, and with an air of pretending to think lightly of the young
man whom she had hinted at: 'I must say for him that he has been
very well brought up, and does credit to his bringing up, which is
more. However, when he comes to me and says, "Mrs. Salter, I
know she'll never care for me—I don't believe she cares a straw for
me,"—"Keep up your spirits, William," I always say, "you are young
yet, and so is she."'
'Oh, it is young William Watkins, is it?' asked the Doctor
suddenly, for he had a decided tinge of curiosity about him.
'No, sir,' replied the hostess, thrown off her guard, 'it is
young William Dobson at the mill; he is in a capital way of
business, and owns such a good house; he is a very fine strapping
young fellow, too.'
'Then you are quite in his interest, Mrs. Salter?'
'I leave it entirely to the child herself,' replied the
mother coolly; 'but that cherry-orchard of his is quite a picture!
I really don't know how many sieves of fruit he didn't send up from
it this season, though his mother told me. They have a very
snug little farm, you know, sir, as well as the mill, and everything
prospers with them.'
'He is a very fine young fellow, and I can only wish your
daughter may reward him for his liking,' said the Doctor.
'Well, sir, perhaps she may,' replied the mother, laughing
'he was always coming here during her holidays, and sometimes, when
she had been a little cool with him, I would go as far as to say, "Ain't
you ashamed of yourself?" and then she would laugh and say, "I don't
want him to make a fuss about me, I can do very well without him,
Fanny was listening with great interest and attention, and
Mrs. Salter, catching her eye, continued, 'But I beg your pardon,
miss; when I begin talking about my Annie, I don't know how to leave
'Don't apologize, Mrs. Salter,' said the Doctor, rising, 'I
am sure what you have said has interested my niece very much.'
Fanny finding herself thus appealed to, roused herself and
said a few civil things to this good mother about her daughter; but
she felt so surprised, and so ashamed of herself for the false
conclusions which she had so confidently arrived at, that she was
very glad to find herself again in the pony-carriage, safe away from
the ugly farm-house, which she had still great difficulty in
thinking of as Annie Salter's home.
'Well, Fanny,' said the Doctor, after a long silence, 'what
do you think of Mrs. Salter's notions of a rise in life; and above
all, what do you think of her definition of independence?'
'Of course she is wrong,' said Fanny, 'in saying that Annie
is independent, because she earns her own living: that is the very
thing that prevents her from being independent.'
'Prove that, my dear child.'
'Oh, you know, uncle, that servants, and governesses, and
people who live in gentlemen's houses, are always called their
dependants—their paid dependants.'
'Yes, it is the custom to call them so; it means that their
staying in such houses depends on the owner's pleasure but though
the ambiguity of language enables us to use this word in two or
three senses, we must not forget that we can often, with equal
truth, call the same persons both dependent and independent.
Which am I, Fanny?'
'Independent, of course, uncle.'
'How can that be?' I am dependent on my own exertions.
I am not what is called an independent gentleman, but a professional
man, depending on my profession for my bread.'
'But you are independent of any one else,' said Fanny; 'you
only depend on your own exertions. I mean, that you are your
'To be sure. Then where is the difference between me
and Miss Salter?'
'Oh, uncle! she is not her own mistress; she is under you,
and she must work so as to please you for her money.'
'So must I work in such a manner as to please others for my
money; and Miss Salter is not dependent on my exertions, only on her
'I never heard of such a thing,' exclaimed Fanny; 'surely she
is your dependant.'
'Call her so if you like, but she is quite independent of me.
If I do not please her, she has only to go and leave me; I cannot
make her stay, any more than my patients can make me stay if I
choose to go. We are both dependent and independent:
independent of other people's exertions, and dependent on our own.''
'Then,' said Fanny, 'why do we use that word so falsely?'
'Because we have inherited it from the times when servants
really were dependent on their masters. Serfs and retainers
may not leave their masters at pleasure; they are dependent.
There was no such thing as a governess in those days; but we have
foolishly extended a word to them which is particularly ill-suited
to express their condition; we speak as if they were dependent on
us, whereas the peculiar difference between them and other young
women is that they are dependent on themselves, or what, in all
other cases, we call independent.'
'I shall certainly tell all this to Miss Salter,' said Fanny;
'she has often talked with regret about her trying position, and my
'Who began first to talk in this way, Fanny?'
'Oh, I did, uncle; I made friends with her from the first,
because I felt for her position; but, uncle, if she is independent,
what am I?'
'Consult your own good sense, my dear; how do matters stand?
Your dear parents left no property behind them beyond what I spent
in your education. I take you to live with me as my duty and
my pleasure. I do not choose that you should earn your own
bread, because I have plenty. You are therefore dependent upon
me; and all young ladies living at home and doing nothing are in
like case, unless they have private fortunes.'
'Then,' said Fanny, laughing, 'I am glad I am in that case.
I cannot help feeling, though, that it is not pleasant for Annie to
be a governess, in spite of what her mother said about its being a
rise in life.'
'You think it would be better, then, for her to go and live
at home, doing the work of the house and the farm as her mother
does—very hard work it has been for the good woman—far harder than
most servants do for wages—and her only relaxation is to go in the
spring-cart to market, and sell her butter and eggs; or to sit over
the fire while her husband and his friends smoke their pipes, and
talk of the turnip crops, or discuss the price of wool.'
'Oh!' exclaimed Fanny, 'fancy Annie driving the spring-cart
to market; how ashamed she would be of jogging along in it! and then
selling her butter and eggs herself at a stall, taking up the raw
sausages, and exhibiting the plumpness of her ducks and geese, and
then sitting with those prosy, coarse farmers under a cloud of
tobacco-smoke! No; she is far better off as she is.'
'So I think, and so her mother thinks; she is educated and
refined: these are blessings, and it is another that she should be
living with people equally well educated, equally refined.
Such being the case, I do not see how you can talk of her as being
in a painful position without absurdity; for if it is in itself
painful to live among one's superiors, then every household in the
land contains some members that are in painful positions; all the
servants may feel how painful it is that they should have to dine in
the kitchen, when Miss Salter dines in the parlour, they waiting
upon her. Miss Salter may feel it painful to know that you
have no reason to work for your living as she has. You, on the
other hand, may feel it hard that you have nothing to call your own
but what is given you by me, notwithstanding that you admit that it
is a pleasure to me to give it. I, in my turn, may feel how
hard it is that I should have to be always looking after my patient,
Sir John W., instead of having a hereditary estate like him, while
all the world knows that he is fretting his life away because it is
so painful to him that his cousin should have made good a title to
the R— peerage against him, Sir John, and should be frequently
driving past his door with the coronet on his carriage.'
'Well, uncle,' said Fanny, gently, 'I suppose my mistake has
been that I have taken for granted that every governess has come
down in the world; the books, you know, almost always represent a
governess as lovely and ill-used, and living among people who are
really her inferiors in birth and original position. So when I
first saw Miss Salter, I resolved that I would make a friend of her,
be extremely polite to her, and, in short, pity her position, and
try to make it pleasanter to her.'
'But now that you discover that she is not a fit object for
pity, that she is not ill-used, and that she is not of gentle birth,
I hope you will be too just, too really considerate, and too sorry
for the mischief you may have done by your ill-timed pity, to
withdraw your companionship from Miss Salter; I hope, as she has
never deceived you about herself, but has merely accepted your
mistaken compassion, and responded to your spontaneous advances
towards friendship, that while you will leave off condoling, you
will not leave off chatting with her, and sitting with her as
'Oh, no!' said Fanny; and added slowly, 'Of course not.'
'You will be as friendly as before,' proceeded the Doctor,
'though the romance of the thing has flown away on the wings of Mrs.
Salter's ducks and geese.'
'Yes,' said Fanny; but she rather over-calculated her own
powers of self-control, for when the pony-carriage reached the
Doctor's garden, Miss Salter came up to it, and asked Fanny to walk
with her in the shrubbery. Fanny, though she assented,
coloured and seemed uneasy, and when Miss Salter asked, 'Where did
you drive, dear?' she hung her head like a culprit, and answered,
blushing violently, 'We went —that is, my uncle took me—at least—we
went to call on, your mother.' Miss Salter, though Fanny's
flattering suppositions that she was a heroine in painful
circumstances, and that she had come down in the world, and ought to
be treated with all consideration, had been too agreeable to be put
away, was notwithstanding too sensible not to feel that by her
assumption of pensiveness, and that peculiarly injured air so
necessary to a heroine, she had made herself ridiculous in the
Doctor's eyes, and now Fanny's excessive confusion and evident
reluctance to say where she had been, made her ridiculous in her own
eyes. She walked in silence for some time; at length she
'Dr. Deane told me this morning that mother was well.'
'Oh, yes!' replied Fanny, 'we only went for a call; and I
thought your mother a very nice person indeed, Annie, and she seems
very fond of you.'
A sharp pang of shame darted through Ann Salter's mind, as
she saw the evident confusion of Fanny, and the shock it had been to
her to find everything connected with her friend, the governess, so
different from what she had pictured to herself.
She walked beside Fanny in deeply mortified silence.
'If I had not suffered her to remain in her self-deception,' she
thought, 'there would have been every likelihood that she would have
come to be fond of me for my own sake; but now that she finds I am
not what she expected, how can she continue to care for me?'
As for Fanny, she had begun to walk with her friend, but had
not a word to say; she felt herself under some strong constraint,
which she could not throw off, and when they reached the end of the
shrubbery and turned again, she involuntarily quickened her pace,
remarking, 'That she had not finished a letter, which ought shortly
to be posted, and must go in to write it.'
Ann Salter saw how it was; she only detained Fanny to say,
'Did you call anywhere else this morning?' and when Fanny answered
'No!' the colour rushed to her face, as she turned back to the
shrubbery. 'So then,' she thought, 'the Doctor must have taken
Fanny out on purpose that she might see my family, and the way in
which we live. I was sure he meant something more than he
said, when he talked about my depression.'
THE eldest of Ann
Salter's little pupils went to bed at half-past eight in the
evening, at which time she was expected to make her appearance in
the drawing-room, and then she and Fanny generally sang or played
duets together, till the hour for family prayer. On the
evening after her conversation with Fanny in the garden, she was
unusually silent, and felt a constraint upon her which made her long
for bed-time; depression had given way to a feeling of ingenuous
shame; she wished she had not allowed Fanny to talk of her
parentage, taking for granted that she was of gentle birth, without
informing her of the truth, nor to speak of her position as a sad
one, and of her case as one demanding sympathy, without setting her
right. 'How absurd I have been!' she thought; 'how could I
suppose that Fanny would never meet with my father or mother, and
how wicked I am now to feel ashamed of them!' At last she was
able to rise and take her candle.
'You are early to-night, Miss Salter,' said the Doctor.
'It has struck ten, sir,' said Ann Salter, blushing, and I
was up very early this morning; I had some writing to do.' What the
writing had been which she left her chamber to accomplish she did
not tell the Doctor, but when she reached her room she took out her
journal, and said to herself, 'How could I be so silly as to write
all this stuff just because Eveline D'Arcy in the novel wrote a
journal, and because Fanny seemed to think it so interesting!' and
as she turned over the leaves, she added thoughtfully, 'But after
all, I am not persecuted, and certainly I am not in any great
affliction; I wish I had not imitated Eveline D'Arcy's style of
journalizing. I wish I could behave naturally, and not be
always wondering what other people will think of me. How
foolish Fanny will think me now that she has read all this, and now
that she has seen my dear mother! Well, I shall not rise early
to-morrow to write down to-day's experience; I am not going to
record how Dr. Deane said he thought I was discontented, and how
Fanny was surprised to find my mother was not a gentlewoman.
No! I have had enough of journals for the present. I
shall not write again in a hurry.'
So saying, she put away the luckless journal. 'Fanny
said I should soon tire of it,' she thought. 'Fanny declared
that I should not write it long, and I almost made a vow that
I would persevere; however, I suppose when next she asks to see it,
I shall have to confess that I am wrong and she is right. I
am tired of it; I will not write another word.' Having
formed this resolution, she went to sleep. On the next morning
before breakfast, observing Johnny hard at work with a slate and
pencil, she asked him what he was doing, and the little urchin
replied that he was writing his journal. Whereupon the Doctor,
who was carving slices of ham for breakfast, looked very much
amused, and said, 'Quite right, my boy, you could not do better.
Who taught you to write a journal, eh?'
'Nobody taught me, papa,' said the boy; 'but Kitty says she
sees Miss Salter writing her journal when she wakes in the morning;
but she says I can't write one, but I shall, for Kitty does, and so
'Pass your plate for a piece of ham,' said the Doctor, 'and
tell me what you put down in your journal; is it like this: "To-day
I ate so much pudding, that I fell asleep over my sum;" or, "Today I
had a bad mark for throwing my ball through the window?"'
'I don't want to write that,' said the little boy, sullenly;
'I only want to write about having holidays, and going out to fish
for sticklebacks, and having shillings and sixpences given me.'
'Oh, very well then, you had better write no journal at all.
Miss Salter does not write down all the pleasant things, and leave
out all the unpleasant, I am sure.'
'Do you approve of journals, sir?' asked Miss Salter, not
wishing to give a direct answer to the Doctor's appeal.
'Approve? yes, Miss Salter, if the journal is one of events,
and only sparingly interspersed with records of frames and feelings:
nothing is more likely to help us to correct our faults than a true
description of how we have been overtaken by them. If I am in
a passion to-day, and write down all about it when I am cool, it
makes me feel ashamed of myself.'
'But, sir,' interrupted Miss Salter, 'one often hears it said
that the journals of good people seem to be written on purpose for
publication, and that the world may see how deeply they repented of
their faults; surely when people write journals, it must be with a
view to their being seen.'
'My young friend,' was the reply, 'if a man keep a true
and impartial record of the events of his life and his behaviour
under them, he cannot possibly wish it to be seen even after his
death. His graver faults and his deep repentance after them he
might be able to give to the world, but his little petty feelings of
envy, malice, meanness, or peevishness, he could not bear to expose
to his nearest and dearest friend. The deceitfulness of
his heart he must feel an anxious desire to conceal, though its
wickedness, if he represented it vaguely and in general terms, he
might not care to keep to himself.'
'Well, I must say,' observed Miss Salter, 'that the faults of
those good men whose lives I am fond of reading are always such as I
should not mind confessing myself.'
'Their faults as represented in their journals. Very
true, for when people write their real autobiography they generally
take the utmost care not to let it go out of their hands in their
lifetime, and they either destroy it on their deathbeds, or leave
injunctions that it shall not be opened after their decease.'
Now Fanny, having read Ann Salter's journal, would not for
the world have looked at her while the discussion was going on, for
she could not but remember that the said journal, over which, by the
bye, she had shed many sympathetic tears, was not exactly a record
of follies or of faults, it was rather a reverse picture of what
Johnny had intended to set down in his, namely, an account of what
Eveline D'Arcy would have called trying circumstances,' 'slights,'
and 'painful events connected with my unfortunate position.'
Ann Salter was not less uncomfortable than Fanny; but as she was
liable to be swayed by every one's opinion, she now began to think
she ought to continue her journal. 'Though if I do,' she
mentally added, 'I shall take care that no one ever sees it; in
fact, what would be the use of showing a journal written on the
Doctor's plan? it would make people dislike one instead of feeling
'I should think it must be very difficult, sir, to write such
a journal as you describe,' she presently said, 'because it would be
so terrible to think that, in spite of all one's care, it might be
found and read.'
'And such being the case, you think the temptation would be
great to be vague and general in one's confessions, and not to write
'But it might be done in a cipher,' continued Miss Salter,
thoughtfully; 'I think I know one that I could write it in.'
The Doctor laughed; he had not expected that his plan of
journalizing would so soon be put to the test; and he would have
continued the subject, but that the children, having now finished
their breakfast, were carried by their punctual little governess to
have their faces washed, and find their Bibles that they might be
ready for family prayers. The children did their lessons very
well that morning, and Miss Salter never once relapsed into the
attitude of 'The Governess;' she had just dismissed them to have a
game at play in the garden, when she heard the Doctor's step; he was
advancing rapidly, and she observed that Johnny was teasing him by
asking some childish question, for the Doctor answered hurriedly,
'There, go away, papa cannot attend to you; go and play in the
hop-garden, you and your sisters, and if you are good you may have a
half-holiday.' A half-holiday! thought Miss Salter, what can
that be for? 'Where's Cousin Fanny?' she heard the Doctor say.
'Here, Fanny, I want you.' 'Cousin Fanny is gone out,' said
the children, who were now jumping round him for joy. 'Tut,
tut,' cried the Doctor, 'where is Miss Salter? not with her, I
'No, sir, I am here,' said Ann Salter, rising and looking out
at the window.
'Oh, you are at home, Miss Salter,' said the Doctor, rather
gravely; his hurry seemed to subside. 'Well,' he said, after
looking at her for a moment in silence, 'I will come in and speak to
'I hope I am not going to have another series of remarks on
my depression,' thought Ann Salter; but she had not time for many
reflections; the Doctor entered. 'I have just been out in the
pony carriage,' he observed, with gravity.
'What is that to me, I wonder?' thought Miss Salter; 'there
is something odd about the Doctor's manner, I am sure.'
'Indeed, sir,' she replied.'
'Yes,' he continued slowly and calmly, 'I went to the
farm—your father had been stacking hay—I am not alarmed about
him—but he has met with an accident. There, don't look so
frightened, he is not in danger—sit down.'
Ann Salter sat down again, for she had started up. She
felt faint and giddy, but the Doctor's next words enabled her to
control herself. 'And your mother wants you to come over and
help her to nurse him; you can be of great use.'
'I want to know what the injury is,' said the poor girl,
'What the injury is?—well, I can scarcely tell at present; he
was stunned at first, but he soon came to himself, and his arm is
broken, that is, I hope, the extent of the mischief.'
On his first entrance, the Doctor had rung the bell; it was
now answered by a female servant, who was ordered to bring down Miss
Salter's bonnet and cloak, 'and anything else she will want in a
drive,' added the Doctor. Confusion and anxiety kept Ann
Salter silent a few moments; she felt that she would like to go over
and help her mother, but her mind was in a whirl, and when she found
that her walking apparel was produced in a great hurry, and that the
gig was coming round, she burst into tears and exclaimed, 'Oh, I am
afraid I shall find my dear father very ill!'
'I hope not,' replied the Doctor; 'and one reason why I am in
a hurry is, that I want to take some medicine over, and some other
things that I require.'
'And think what a comfort you will be to your mother, Miss !'
observed the maid.
Again the notion that she could be of use enabled her to
rally; and she got into the pony-gig, continuing to shed tears, it
is true, but perfectly mistress of herself, and able to listen to
all the Doctor's directions and requirements.
'Now, Miss Salter,' he said, when he had left her a few
moments for reflection, 'I am taking you over partly because your
poor mother, sensible woman as she is, was so completely overpowered
when she saw your father's state, that I feel she is not fit to be
with him, at least for the present. The person who is with him
should be calm, and not give way to any display of feeling, even if
he should say affecting things. "Ah, my poor dear," he said to
your mother when he came to himself, "I am going to leave you! "He
went on to say that he wished to see his children and give them his
blessing: your poor mother went into hysterics, and I had to get the
servant man to take her away, which I was sorry for, because I
wanted help. Now, if your father should talk in that way to
you, do you think you can answer calmly, "Father, you must not talk;
the doctor says quiet is necessary, and that if you can keep quiet
you will most likely do well?"'
'I will try, sir.'
'Do so, and remember there is to be no kissing and weeping
over him when you first enter. You are to walk in with me, sit
down by him, just watch him, apply the lotions according to my
directions, give him drink, and take no notice when he talks,
excepting to tell him to keep quiet.'
'Surely he will think me unfeeling.'
'Never mind what he thinks; do your duty. I have to
tell you what your duty is; do it even at the risk of being thought
unfeeling by your sick father. His face is a good deal bruised
and disfigured; but if I tell you that those bruises are not of the
slightest consequence, I suppose you will not be shocked at seeing
'O no, sir, my nerves are strong.'
'Yes, I know they are; well, I am putting you into a very
responsible position. I have told your poor mother she must
not attempt to go near your father till to-morrow, for she cannot
stand it, and he gets excited when he sees her. So now follow
your own judgment, and form your own conclusions, venture to be
independent. If he is worse, send for me: if any of his
friends come to see him, keep them out of his chamber: if he says he
never can recover, tell him quietly that you believe he is mistaken;
and if he wants to see his sons, say he shall see them to-morrow.'
'Very well, sir, I will.'
'Ah, that tone sounds promising; I am pleased, and I believe
I may trust you.'
'But if I do all this, I am to have the comfort of hope?
I am to believe myself that he will recover?'
'Humanly speaking, I see no reason why he should not get
better, with the blessing of God no reason, indeed, with proper
attention to keep him calm and quiet; but every reason for anxiety,
if his feelings are worked on, his mind distracted, and his nerves
flurried. You will sit up with him to-night.'
'O yes, sir, I am not at all afraid, and I shall be so
thankful to help mother. If she can rest, she will be quite
herself again to-morrow.'
'To be sure, and I shall come early to see him, and you may
depend on my telling you what I really think of him; as to the
children, I shall let them have a holiday to-morrow, and you need
not be uneasy about them. I daresay Fanny will hear them say
'Oh, thank you, sir; you are very good.'
'And mind your father does not see you looking depressed;
that might discourage him,' continued the Doctor, forgetting his
late conversation with the governess, who, however, remembered it
while she replied, 'O no, sir, I should not think of such a thing;'
and immediately all her foolish little fancies, and airs, and
discontents flashed back upon her recollection, as such things will
on the minds of all of us when the pressure of circumstances has
suddenly broken off the ordinary thread of our thoughts, and when we
think of the feelings and speeches of yesterday, as if they had
occurred ten years ago, and could never by any possibility be
entertained by us again. What did it matter now to Ann Salter
that the servants knew she received a salary for her services that
she was in what she was pleased to consider a 'dependant's
position,' and that the beloved parent to whom she was going wore a
white coat instead of a black one, and was not what is called a
But though Ann Salter felt comforted in the belief that her
father's life was not in danger, and that she was going to be of use
to both her parents, she felt her heart beat fast, and her limbs
shake as they drove up to the door of the farmhouse; and she thought
she would have given anything in the world if she might have retired
only for five minutes to pray for help from above, and for composure
and skill to meet this emergency.
This she could not have; the Doctor ushered her at once into
the kitchen, where sat her poor mother with her arms flung on the
dresser, and her face resting upon them. She sobbed and wept
afresh at the sight of her daughter, and exclaimed, 'Ah, poor thing,
she does not know how bad her father is!'
'Ann, my dear, your poor father was very near being killed
'Yes, I know, dear mother,' said Ann, striving to speak
calmly, and distressed to see her mother so helpless.
'She hardly looks as if she did know it, Doctor,' observed
the poor woman, as if hurt at her daughter's self-command.
'She is come to help you, and to nurse her father,' replied
the Doctor, addressing both mother and daughter, for he saw that the
fortitude of the latter was ready to give way; 'and she can be of no
use if she is not calm. Come, Mrs. Salter, I have brought you
a composing draught, and when your neighbour comes to help you in
the house do you go to bed.'
'She is come; she is sitting by my poor husband,' sobbed the
'Then I will send her down to you. Come with me, Miss
Ann Salter only waited to give her mother one kiss, and then
stole up-stairs after the Doctor. The door of her father's
chamber was wide open; she saw him lying on his bed breathing hard.
There were no curtains to the window, but a heavy shawl had been
fastened before it to darken the room, and the brown curtains of the
bed were let down. The window was open, as the slight movement
of the shawl sufficiently proved; but the poor restless patient was
so much in the shadow that at first his daughter could not
distinguish his bruised features, and their troubled expression.
A woman was sitting by the bedside, fanning him, for it was very
hot. Dr. Deane took the fan from her, and sent her down,
putting Ann Salter in her place. He then gave her some
directions, showed her the medicines, remarked that her father's
head was not now very clear, and that if he did not notice her
presence she need not draw his attention to it. He then shook
hands with her and left her.
What her feelings were as she saw him gradually going down
the stairs, and afterwards when she heard him drive away, it would
be impossible to describe. She was now left virtually with the
whole responsibility of the case on her own hands: it was not yet
one o'clock, and she knew she should not see Dr. Deane again till
the next morning; his prescriptions had been already made up, and
she should not even have the comfort of seeing the apothecary's boy;
yet (when she had sat a quarter of an hour by her father who happily
for himself and for her was now in a half doze), she felt equal to
her task; she had found the opportunity for prayer that she had so
ardently desired, and she knew that her proving equal to her task
was of the utmost consequence; so for more than two hours she sat
fanning her father, ready to show him a steady and almost cheerful
face the moment he awoke. His rest was broken, he was feverish
and evidently in pain; she sometimes thought he was more stupified
than sleepy, and the weary hours dragged on till she knew by the
sounds in the farmyard that it must be past four o'clock, before
there was any change in the patient, or she had any person to
relieve her from her watch.
At last the neighbour came up, and beckoned her out of the
room, saying that the tea was ready. She ran down, and was
very glad of some refreshment, for she had not dined. Two of
her brothers were in the kitchen, and from them she learned that her
mother was gone to bed and had fallen asleep; she stayed down but a
very few minutes, and as she came up stairs she observed that her
father's eyes were open, and that the neighbour was saying, 'How do
you feel yourself now, Mr. Salter?' 'I feel very bad,' was the
reply, 'and very thirsty; I could fancy a glass of ale!'
'I'll go and draw some,' said the neighbour; 'a glass of your
own home-brewed can do you no harm.'
Upon this Ann Salter was obliged to propose toast-and-water
as a substitute, and the neighbour appearing inclined to argue the
point, she was terrified to see how rapidly her father's face
flushed, how excited he became, and how angrily he discussed the
'Oh, do go, do go,' she implored; 'do leave him, and let me
try to calm him!' But it was now too late; he was thoroughly
roused from his previous quietude, his pulse quickened; he
complained of violent headache, and soon began to ramble in his
speech. This was no time for tears or weak fears with his
daughter; she had been told what to do under any circumstances that
were likely to arise, and the neighbour, now humble and distressed
at the mistake she had made, was anxiously bent on giving what
assistance she could.
Leeches were put on; and in ceaseless exertion and anxiety
the next few hours were passed; the long summer twilight had settled
into darkness, and the evening star was shining through the crevice
between the shawl and the window-frame, before peace and silence
were restored in the sick-chamber, or Ann Salter could sit down by
her father's bed.
And yet the time had been so fully occupied, that though she
was fatigued, she had not felt it to be long; and when some supper
was brought up to her, and she was told that it was eleven o'clock,
she could only think of the past morning and evening as of a dream.
She stole to the top of the stairs, all the household were in bed,
excepting the brother who had brought her supper. 'You had
better go and take a turn outside while I sit with father,' said he;
'and there is a box come for you, from Dr. Deane's; it came some
time ago, and the man who brought it said Miss Fanny Deane had sent
Ann Salter could not make up her mind to go and walk, even
under her father's window; but she went to see what Fanny had sent
her, and found a kind little note, some articles of dress, and two
or three interesting books, that Fanny thought she would be glad of;
moreover, her journal.
She took out a shawl and a hood, for in spite of the heat she
felt the want of warm clothing in her father's room; and she took
out her journal, and not wishing it to lie about, she brought it up
to her father's room, and laid it on the table. Then she
dismissed her brother, and through the weary night sat patiently
watching her father; sometimes he dozed, sometimes he was wakeful
and restless; but he always found her calm and steady, attentive and
Towards morning, when the early dawn began to wake the birds,
fatigue made her head droop, and her eye now and then fill with
tears; once she dozed a few moments and began to dream, but starting
up, she stole to the window, for she heard a fluttering noise: it
was the leaves of her journal, the summer air coming in had lifted
the paper cover, and it lay open before her. It had also
displaced the folds of the shawl, and one slanting sunbeam lay
across the page; mechanically, Ann Salter's tired eyes rested on the
illuminated sentence; it ran thus:—'August 3d.—The children
were idle at their lessons to-day, and Johnnie was troublesome and
mischievous. I do not like the new housemaid's manner: it is
too familiar, and adds to the discomfort of my position. We
know that trials are appointed for all; none are free from them, and
we strive to be resigned under them; yet it must be allowed that
some of the dispensations of Divine Providence are more difficult to
bear than others, and I do sometimes feel a wish that some other
than the peculiar trial of dependence, and the slights and
annoyances it gives rise to, had been appointed for me. Any
other dispensation, I often think, would be easier to bear, and I
cannot but feel a wish that the nature of my trial might be changed;
but let me not be unduly depressed; let me try to conduct myself
with gentleness and resignation.'
'If the kitchen fire was alight, I would burn this,' thought
the weary little nurse.
'Annie, Annie,' moaned the voice from the bed, 'my mouth is
so dry; give me some drink, child I want some drink.'