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mourners, as they dwelt sadly enough on the contrast between the burning battle-field, where their father lately met death so gloriously, and the bed of suffering, where their mother's life had worn thread by thread away. Land and sea rolled between their graves, but were not the lives so long divided now at last reunited ?
Such was the thought uppermost in the mind of each, which the elder brother was the first to put into words, so soon as they were in motion towards their home. “My poor father! When I
him a soldier's hasty burial, how little did I think that in less than a year I should follow my mother also to the grave!"
“ And this very spring, too, to which she had so long looked forward, as the period fixed for his return,” responded Arthur, with a heavy sigh.
“ From first to last, it has been a year of misfortunes, that's the truth,” broke in Edgeworth abruptly, “ and it's to be hoped that, having come to the worst, matters may mend, else we shall all die in the workhouse."
Neither brother answered. Herbert raised his eyes in the uttermost surprise, but Edgeworth had sunk back moodily into his corner, while the one expression on Arthur's face was that of extreme anxiety. He was inured to these ebullitions on Edgeworth's part, but he was distressed by the effect his words took on Maud. From the moment they had entered the carriage she had sat motionless, tearless, and speechless, but now with quivering lips and burning cheeks she spoke :
“ What would poverty, or debt, or any loss signify if Mamma only lived ?” and her passionate words died away in sobs.
“ You ought to have sense enough to know that these things just made all the difference to her," persisted Edgeworth surlily.
“ For God's sake spare the living," began Herbert—he was going to add, “
you have no respect for the dead,” but he checked the hasty speech, for Arthur made a gesture of entreaty as he leant across to open the window by his sister.
Not a word more was spoken; but when they reached the door of the little house upon the hill, where they had lately made their home, Arthur lifted rather than helped his sister out of the carriage. The struggle with so many contending feelings had left Maud deadly pale, and she stood against the door-post, unable to move, and quivering in every
limb. “She will be better upstairs and in quiet,” said Arthur compassionately, and addressing his eldest brother. “Will you send Bridget, Herbert, and”a glance towards Edgeworth concluded his sentence.
Captain Bingley understood that the best and kindest thing he could do would be to keep his youngest brother with him; but, as he had yet to learn, Edgeworth was not the most tractable being in the world, and in the moment Herbert's back was turned to summon nurse Bridget, he took the opportunity of walking off upstairs.
“Won't you come in here ?” said his brother, who was just in time to catch sight of him through the banisters.
But Edgeworth either did not or would not hear, and Herbert entered the small, close sitting-room alone. At this moment it did not wear its happiest aspect; no token of feminine presence relieved the hard dulness of the ordinary lodging-house furniture; the books had been heaped on chairs to make way for the breakfast equipage, which, though used two hours before, still held its place; a side-table was littered rather than spread with papers
and writing materials, which had been searched over night; the flowers were dry and withered, not only in a glass upon the chimney-piece, but in a small stand near the sunniest window. In short, to sum up the whole, it wore the appearance of a room which had of late been inhabited by the sterner sex only, and to which the rare efforts of a mere household drudge had not sufficed to impart even the common comfort of neatness.
“ Does all he does with single mind,
From the German.
ERBERT Bingley was almost a stranger
in his home, if such it could be called. He had gone to India at eighteen,
and, returning after twelve years' service, he had hardly been in England as many days, when his mother died. It was a sad welcome back for one, who, in the long years of absence, had come by force of habit and example to look on “home” as an elysium of promise and delight, and to make that so long unattainable, a centre round which all the hopes and wishes of an imaginative temperament had been wont to cluster. Susceptible of outward influences as any woman, he had been well-nigh overpowered by the sad circumstances which heralded in his return to his native land,