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act by her own Miriam. Mr. Huxley
graciously allowed himself to be persuaded, and
Agnes Lee, the child of his favourite sister,
was adopted into the Rectory nursery on a
perfect equality with her cousin. It somehow
got to be reported abroad, that Mrs. Huxley
had greatly opposed her husband's generosity,
and had wished the little orphan to be sent
to the workhouse.

The two children grew up together, and
were as fond of each other as sisters usually
are; but Agnes Lee had the strongest will
and the most energy. So it was she who
settled the plays and polity of doll-land, and
who took the lead in all matters of "books,
and work, and needle-play." Agnes was
twelve, and Miriam fourteen, when the
fascinating Mrs. Warren came to live at the
Great House.

She took up the Rectory people most
warmly, and threw herself with enthusiasm
into all manner of benevolent schemes for
the benefit of the parish. To the two girls
she seemed like a good fairy. She had them
constantly to her beautiful house, she gave
them lessons in singing, and taught them to
dance; her French maid manufactured their
bonnets and dresses; she lavished gifts upon
them, she made pets of them, and was never
weary of inventing schemes for giving them
pleasure. It was delightful to see their
enjoyment and to receive their gratitude, and
she never suspected the delicate unobtrusive
care with which poor cold, stiff, Mrs. Huxley
contrived that the two girls should never
fall too heavily upon the hands of their
beautiful patroness. She also tried to inspire
them with a portion of her own reserve; but
that was not so easy. Miriama mild, shy,
undemonstrative girlfelt an admiration of
Mrs. Warren that approached to idolatry. It
took the place of a first love. Mrs. Warren
liked the excitement of being loved with
enthusiasm; but she never calculated the
responsibility it brought along with it,
and omitted nothing that could stimulate
Miriam's passionate attachment. Agnes was
less impressionable. She had a precocious
amount of common sense, and Mrs. Warren's
fascinations did not take too much hold upon
her. The Rector was almost as much
bewitched as his daughter by the fair widow.
She talked gaily to him, and obliged him to
rub up his ancient gallantry, which had fallen
into rusty disuse. She dressed all the children
of his school in green gowns and red ribbons.
She subscribed a painted window to the
church. She talked over two refractory
churchwardens, who had been the torment of
his life: above all, she admired his sermons;
and, as she was in correspondence with a lord
bishop, he had sanguine hopes that her
admiration might lead to something better. Mrs.
Huxley was the only person who refused to
be charmed. She did not contradict the
raptures expressed by her husband and
daughter, but she heard them in silence.

When Miriam was sixteen, she fell into
delicate health; a slight accident developed
a spinal affection. A London physician,
who with his wife was on a short visit to
Mrs. Warren, saw Miriam at her request,
and gave little hope that she would ever be
anything but a life-long invalid. She was
ordered to keep as much as possible in
a recumbent position. Mrs. Warren was
on the point of departing for London.
Nothing could exceed her sympathy and
generosity. At first she declared she would
postpone her journey, to assist Mrs. Huxley
to nurse her sweet Miriam; but she easily
gave up that idea when Mrs. Huxley
declared, rather dryly, " that there was not the
least occasion; for, as the case was likely to
be tedious, it was better to begin as they
could go on." Mrs. Warren, however, loaded
Miriam with presents. She made Miriam
promise to write to her all she read and
thought; and, for this purpose, she gave her
a supply of fairy-like paper and a gold pen.
Miriam, on her side, promised to write twice
a-week at least, and to tell Mrs. Warren
everything that could amuse her. Mrs.
Warren gave orders to her gardener to
supply the Rectory with fruit, flowers, and
vegetables; but either Mrs. Warren's directions
were not clear, or the gardener did not
choose to act upon them. He charged for
everything that he sent down, and gave as his
reason that his mistress paid him no wages
in her absence, but let him pick up what he

After Mrs. Warren's departure, she wrote
for a month; after that, her letters ceased.
Newspapers supplied their place; and, it
appeared from the notices of fashionable
life, that Mrs. Warren had taken her
place amongst the gayest. At last the
newspapers ceased; the last that came contained
the announcement that Mrs. Warren had left
town for Paris. After this, no more news
reached the Rectory. The Manor House
remained shut up, and the lodge-keeper said
"that the Missis was spending the winter at

At first Miriam wrote in all the enthusiasm,
and good faith of youthful adoration. Mrs.
Warren had begged she would not count
with her letter for letter, but have trust in
her unalterable attachment, &c., &c.; and
Miriam went on writing, long after all answers
had ceased. Everything earthly has its
limit; and, when reciprocity is all on
one side, the term is reached rather earlier
than it might otherwise have been. Poor
Miriam lay on her couch, and went through
all the heart-sickening process of
disenchantment about the friendship which she
had made the light of her life. She
rejoiced moodily in her physical sufferings,
and hoped that she should soon die, as she
could not endure such misery long. The
young believe in the eternity of all they feel.

She was roused from this sorrow of