Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Vain Fortune.
between her father and mother, which made her young life so unbearable, so wretched, that she could never think of those years without tears rising to her eyes.  And then the going away, coming to live with Mr. Burnett!  The death of her father and her dear mother, so sudden, following so soon one after the other.  How much there had been in her life, how wonderful it was!  Her love of Mr. Burnett, and then that bitter and passionate change in him!  That proposal of marriage; could she ever forget it?  And then this cruel and sudden death.  Everything she had ever loved had been taken from her.  Only Julia remained, and should Julia be taken from her, she felt that she must die.  But that would not, could not, happen.  She was now mistress of Ashwood, she was a great heiress; and she and Julia would live always together, they would always love one another, they would always live here in this beautiful place which they loved so well.

VIII

There were at the funeral a few personal friends who lived in the neighbourhood, the farmers on the estate, and the labourers; and when the little crowd separated outside the church, Emily and Julia walked back to Ashwood with Mr. Grandly, Mr. Burnett’s intimate friend and solicitor.  They returned through the park, hardly speaking at all, Emily absent-minded as usual, waving her parasol occasionally at a passing butterfly.  The grass was warm and beautiful to look on, and they lingered, prolonging the walk.  It was very good of Mr. Grandly to accompany them back; he might have gone on straight to the station, so Julia thought, and she was surprised indeed when, instead of bidding them good-bye at the front door, he said—­

’Before I return to London I have a communication to make to both you ladies.  Will it suit you to come into the drawing-room with me?’

‘Perfectly, so far as I’m concerned; and you, Emily?’

’Oh, I’ve nothing to do; but if it is about business, Julia will attend——­’

‘I think you had better be present, Miss Watson.’

Mr. Grandly was a tall, massive man with benevolent features; his bald, pink skull was partly covered with one lock of white hair.  There was an anxious look in his pale, deep-set eyes which impressed Julia, and she said:  ’I hope this communication you have to make to us is not of a painful nature.  We have——­’

’Yes, Mrs. Bentley, I know that you have been severely tried lately, but there is no help for it.  I cannot keep you in ignorance any longer of certain facts relating to Mr. Burnett’s will.’  The words ‘will’ and ‘facts’ struck on Emily’s ear.  She had been thinking about her fortune.  The very ground she was walking on was hers.  She was the owner of this beautiful park; it seemed like a fairy tale.  And that house, that dear, old-fashioned house, that rambling, funny old place of all sizes and shapes, full of deep staircases and pictures, was hers.  Her eyes wandered along

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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