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communication with him. George Forley has
been a hard, bittor, stony father to a child
now dead.. George Forley was most
implacable and unrelenting to one of his two
daughters who made a poor marriage. George
Forley brought all the weight of his hand to
bear as heavily against that crushed thing, as
he brought it to bear lightly, favouringly, and
advantageously upon her sister, who made a
rich marriage. I hope that, with the measure
George Forley meted, it may not be measured
out to him again. I will give George Forley
no worse wish."

I was strong upon the subject, and I could
not keep the tears out of my eyes; for, that
young girl's was a cruel story, and I had
dropped many a tear over it before.

"The house being George Forley's," said
I, " is almost enough to account for there
being a Fate upon it, if Fate there is. Is
there anything about George Forley in those
sheets of paper?"

"Not a word."

"I am glad to hear it. Please to read on.
Trottle, why don't you come nearer? Why
do you sit mortifying yourself in those Arctic
regions? Come nearer."

"Thank you, ma'am; I am quite near
enough to Mr. Jarber."

Jarber rounded his chair, to get his back
full to my opinionated friend and servant, and,
beginning to read, tossed the words at him
over his (Jabez Jarber's) own ear and

He read what follows:


Mr. and Mrs. Openshaw came from
Manchester to London and took the House To
Let. He had been, what is called in
Lancashire, a Salesman for a large manufacturing
firm, who were extending their
business, and opening a warehouse in London;
where Mr. Openshaw was now to superintend
the business. He rather enjoyed the change
of residence; having a kind of curiosity about
London, which he had never yet been able to
gratify in his brief visits to the metropolis.
At the same time he had an odd, shrewd,
contempt for the inhabitants; whom he had
always pictured to himself as fine, lazy
people; caring nothing but for fashion and
aristocracy, and lounging away their days in
Bond Street, and such places; ruining good
English, and ready in their turn to despise
him as a provincial. The hours that the
men of business kept in the city scandalised
him too; accustomed as he was to the early
dinners of Manchester folk, and the
consequently far longer evenings. Still, he
was pleased to go to London; though he
would not for the world have confessed it,
even to himself, and always spoke of
the step to his friends as one demanded of
him by the interests of his employers, and
sweetened to him by a considerable increase
of salary. His salary indeed was so liberal
that he might have been justified in taking a
much larger House than this one, had he not
thought himself bound to set an example to
Londoners of how little a Manchester man of
business cared for show. Inside, however,
he furnished the House with an unusual
degree of comfort, and, in the wintertime, he
insisted on keeping up as large fires as the
grates would allow, in every room where the
temperature was in the least chilly. Moreover,
his northern sense of hospitality was
such, that, if he were at home, he could hardly
suffer a visitor to leave the house without
forcing meat and drink upon him. Every
servant in the house was well warmed, well
fed, and kindly treated; for their master
scorned all petty saving in aught that
conduced to comfort; while he amused himself
by following out all his accustomed habits
and individual ways in defiance of what any
of his new neighbours might think.

His wife was a pretty, gentle woman, of
suitable age and character. He was forty-two,
she thirty-five. He was loud and decided; she
soft and yielding. They had two children; or
rather, I should say, she had two; for the
elder, a girl of eleven, was Mrs. Openshaw's
child by Frank Wilson her first husband. The
younger was a little boy, Edwin, who could
just prattle, and to whom his father delighted
to speak in the broadest and most unintelligible
Lancashire dialect, in order to keep up
what he called the true Saxon accent.

Mrs.Openshaw's Christian-name was Alice,
and her first husband had been her own
cousin. She was the orphan niece of a sea-
captain in Liverpool: a quiet, grave little
creature, of great personal attraction when
she was fifteen or sixteen, with regular
features and a blooming complexion. But she
was very shy, and believed herself to be very
stupid and awkward; and was frequently
scolded by her aunt, her own uncle's second
wife. So when her cousin, Frank Wilson,
came home from a long absence at sea, and
first was kind and protective to her; secondly,
attentive; and thirdly, desperately in love
with her, she hardly knew how to be grateful
enough to him. It is true she would have
preferred his remaining in the first or second
stages of behaviour; for his violent love
puzzled and frightened her. Her uncle neither
helped nor hindered the love affair: though
it was going on under his own eyes. Frank's
step-mother had such a variable temper, that
there was no knowing whether what she
liked one day she would like the next, or not.
At length she went to such extremes of
crossness, that Alice was only too glad to shut
her eyes and rush blindly at the chance of
escape from domestic tyranny offered her by
a marriage with her cousin; and, liking him
better than any one in the world except her
uncle (who was at this time at sea) she went
off one morning and was married to him; her
only bridesmaid being the housemaid at her