“I fear it is. Poor fellow! he took it very much to heart. It was a disappointment to us all. We were congratulating ourselves on having secured him an eligible situation.”
“I assure you the disappointment is not all on one side; he is a very promising boy, and the loss of his prospective services annoying. Nothing but stern necessity caused the result.”
“Oh, we entirely acquit you, Mr. Blatchford, of all blame in the matter. We are confident that what happened was not occasioned by any indisposition on your part to fulfil your agreement.”
“My dear,” interrupted Mrs. Burrell, “she thinks you are Mr. Blatchford.”
“And are you not?” asked Esther, with some surprise.
“Oh, no; I’m an intimate friend of his, and was present this morning when the affair happened.” “Oh, indeed,” responded Esther.
“Yes; and he came home and related it all to me,—the whole affair,” interrupted Mrs. Burrell. “I was dreadfully provoked; I assure you, I sympathized with him very much. I became deeply interested in the whole affair; I was looking at my little boy,—for I have a little boy,” said she, with matronly dignity,—“and I thought, suppose it was my little boy being treated so, how should I like it? So bringing the matter home to myself in that way made me feel all the more strongly about it; and I just told George Burrell he must take him, as he is an engraver; and I and the baby gave him no rest until he consented to do so. He will take him on the same terms offered by Mr. Blatchford; and then we came down to tell you; and—and,” said she, quite out of breath, “that is all about it.”
Esther took the little woman’s plump hand in both her own, and, for a moment, seemed incapable of even thanking her. At last she said, in a husky voice, “You can’t think what a relief this is to us. My brother has taken his disappointment so much to heart—I can’t tell you how much I thank you. God will reward you for your sympathy and kindness. You must excuse me,” she continued, as her voice faltered; “we have latterly been so unaccustomed to receive such sympathy and kindness from persons of your complexion, that this has quite overcome me.”
“Oh, now, don’t! I’m sure it’s no more than our duty, and I’m as much pleased as you can possibly be—it has given me heartfelt gratification, I assure you.”
Esther repeated her thanks, and followed them to the door, where she shook hands with Mrs. Burrell, who gave her a pressing invitation to come and see her baby.
“How easy it is, George Burrell,” said the happy little woman, “to make the hearts of others as light as our own-mine feels like a feather,” she added, as she skipped along, clinging to his arm. “What a nice, lady-like girl his sister is—is her brother as handsome as she ?”
“Not quite,” he answered; “still, he is very good-looking, I’ll bring him home with me to-morrow at dinner, and then you can see him.”