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NO NAME.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE WOMAN IN WHITE," &c.

BETWEEN THE SCENES.

I.

FROM NORAH VANSTONE TO MR. PENDRIL.
"Westmorland House, Kensington,
" August 14th, 1846.

"DEAR MR.PENDRIL, The date of this letter
will show you that the last of many hard partings
is over. We have left Combe-Raven; we
have said farewell to home.

"I have been thinking seriously of what you
said to me, on Wednesday, before you went
back to town. I entirely agree with you, that
Miss Garth is more shaken by all she has gone
through for our sakes, than she is herself willing
to admit; and that it is my duty, for the future,
to spare her all the anxiety that I can, on the
subject of my sister and myself. This is very
little to do for our dearest friend, for our second
mother. Such as it is, I will do it with all my
heart.

"But, forgive me for saying that I am as far
as ever from agreeing with you about Magdalen.
I am so sensible, in our helpless position, of the
importance of your assistance; so anxious to be
worthy of the interest of my father's trusted
adviser and oldest friend, that I feel really and
truly disappointed with myself for differing with
youand yet I do differ. Magdalen is very
strange, very unaccountable, to those who don't
know her intimately. I can understand that she
has innocently misled you; and that she has
presented herself, perhaps, under her least
favourable aspect. But, that the clue to her
language and her conduct on Wednesday last, is to
be found in such a feeling towards the man who
has ruined us, as the feeling at which you hinted,
is what I cannot and will not believe of my
sister. If you knew, as I do, what a noble
nature she has, you would not be surprised at
this obstinate resistance of mine to your opinion.
Will you try to alter it? I don't mind what
Mr. Clare says: he believes in nothing. But
I attach a very serious importance to what
you say; and, kind as I know your motives to
be, it distresses me to think you are doing
Magdalen an injustice.

"Having relieved my mind of this confession,
I may now come to the proper object of my
letter. I promised, if you could not find leisure
time to visit us to-day, to write and tell you all
that happened after you left us. The day has
passed, without our seeing you. So I open my
writing-case, and perform my promise.

"I am sorry to say that three of the women-servants
the housemaid, the kitchenmaid, and
even our own maid (to whom I am sure we have
always been kind)— took advantage of your
having paid them their wages to pack up and
go, as soon as your back was turned. They
came to say good-by with as much ceremony,
and as little feeling, as if they were leaving the
house under ordinary circumstances. The cook,
for all her violent temper, behaved very
differently: she sent up a message to say that she
would stop and help us to the last. And Thomas
(who has never yet been in any other place than
ours) spoke so gratefully of my dear father's
unvarying kindness to him; and asked so
anxiously to be allowed to go on serving us,
while his little savings lasted, that Magdalen
and I forgot all formal considerations, and
both shook hands with him. The poor lad
went out of the room crying. I wish him well;
I hope he will find a kind master and a good
place.

"The long, quiet, rainy evening out of doors
our last evening at Combe-Ravenwas a sad
trial to us. I think winter-time would have
weighed less on our spirits: the drawn
curtains, and the bright lamps, and the
companionable fires would have helped us. We
were only five in the house altogetherafter
having once been so many! I can't tell you how
dreary the grey daylight looked, towards seven
o'clock, in the lonely rooms, and on the noiseless
staircase. Surely, the prejudice in favour of
long summer evenings, is the prejudice of happy
people? We did our best. We kept ourselves
employed, and Miss Garth helped us. The
prospect of preparing for our departure, which
had seemed so dreadful earlier in the day,
altered into the prospect of a refuge from
ourselves, as the evening came on. We each tried
at first to pack up in our own roomsbut the
loneliness was more than we could bear. We
carried all our possessions down stairs, and
heaped them on the large dining-table, and so
made our preparations together, in the same
room. I am sure we have taken nothing away
which does not properly belong to us.

"Having already mentioned to you my own

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