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MABEL'S PROGRESS,

By THE AUTHOR OF "AUNT MARGARET'S TROUBLE."

BOOK III.

CHAPTER V. AT HAZLEHURST AGAIN.

THE cottage at Hazlehurst was beginning to
look bright and pretty, with its orchard trees
full of blossom, and the climbing white roses
on the house all coming out into bloom, when,
one morning towards the end of May, a
basket carriage, drawn by a pair of showy little
ponies, appeared before the garden gate of Mrs.
Saxelby's dwelling.

The vigilant Betty, whose ears had been
attracted by the sound of wheels, announced to
her mistress that there was a "wicker-work
shay" at the door, and that a lady had alighted
from it, and was coming up the garden towards
the house.

The lady was Miss Penelope Charlewood.
She trod so close on Betty's heels, that the
latter had scarcely finished her announcement,
before Miss Charlewood tapped at the sitting-
room door, and requested permission to enter.
She was dressed in a plain morning suit of
brown holland, and wore a straw hat and a pair of
driving-gloves.

"How d'ye do, Mrs. Saxelby? May I come
in?"

Mrs. Saxelby was sitting with an open book
before her, and her netting in her hand. She
looked up at her visitor with a little start and a
flush of surprise.

"Oh pray come in, Miss Charlewood. I am
very glad to see you."

"Well, that's more than I deserve, for it is
an age since I have been over to Hazlehurst."

"It is more than three weeks, certainly; but
you and Clement are the only members of your
family who ever do come to see me now, and I
have not so many friends that I can afford to
quarrel with those who remain to me."

"You mustn't be angry with mamma, Mrs.
Saxelby. It isn't because she doesn't like you
as much as ever, that she hasn't been out here for
so long. But the fact is, she is very much
disinclined to go anywhere, and latterly she has
been compelled to a good deal of exertionfor
heron Augusta's account. I'll tell you all
about it by-and-by."

"Oh, I'm not angry with Mrs. Charlewood."

"No. You're never angry with anybody.
That is the only vice you have, I believe. But
it's a very serious one, let me tell you. People
ought to be angry sometimes."

"Shall I begin to practise upon you?" asked
Mrs. Saxelby, with a faint smile.

"No; don't do that, for I've come on purpose
to ask you and Dooley to take a drive
with me this lovely morning. It will do you
good. Where is Dooley? Mrs. Saxelby, I
adore that child for smacking Miss Fluke's
face."

"Did you hear of it?"

"Hear of it? Of course I heard of it.
Miss Fluke tells everybody. It was lovely of
him; lovely. Think of the heroism of that
shrimp of a creature doing battle against Miss
Fluke's twelve stone! Mind against matter,
wasn't it?"

Mrs. Saxelby shook her head with a
deprecating air, and left the room to dress
herself for the drive, and to send for Dooley
out of the kitchen garden, where he was watching
the operations of the man who acted as
gardener, and driving that somewhat slow-witted
individual into great difficulties by his searching
questions as to what made the cabbages
grow?

Miss Charlewood sat by herself in the little
parlour for some five minutes; during which
time her thoughts went back to the last day of
the music meeting, and the accident to little
Corda, with which such a number of subsequent
circumstances appeared to be linked. It was
from that day that she dated her own perception
of Clement's growing fondness for Mabel.

"How many things have happened since
then!" thought Miss Charlewood; "and it is
not yet a year ago!"

She had learned from her brother that Mabel
had rejected him. In answer to some little
stinging speech, such as Penelope was wont to
utter about friend and foe alike, Clement had told
her gravely that neither she nor any of his
family need be distressed on the score of a
contemplated alliance with such poor people as Mr.
Saxelby's widow and step-daughter, for Miss
Earnshaw had refused him. Perhaps Clement
would not have made this confidence had he not
been irritated by his sister's sneer; after he had
made it, he walked away in silence, and plainly
showed that he thenceforth should decline to
discuss the subject. Although, as we know,

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