She wandered about the old corridor, in and out of odd rooms, all associated with her childhood—quaint old rooms, many of them lumber rooms, full of odd corners and old cupboards, the meaning of which she used to strive to divine. How their silence and mystery used to thrill her little soul! Faded rooms whose mystery had departed, but whose gloom was haunted with tenderest recollections. In one corner was the reading-chair in which Mr. Burnett used to sit. At that time she used to sit on his knee, and when the chair gave way beneath their weight, he had said she was too big a girl to sit on his knee any longer. The words had seemed to her a little cruel. She had forgotten the old chair, but now she remembered the very moment when the servants came to take it away.
Under the window were some fragments of a china bowl which she had broken when quite a little child. There was a hoop-stick and the hoop which had been taken down to the blacksmith’s to be mended. He had mended it, but she did not remember ever using it again. And there was an old box of water-colours, with which she used to colour all the uncoloured drawings in her picture-books. Emily took the hoop-stick, the old doll, and the broken box of water-colours, and packed them away carefully. She would be able to find room for them in the little house in London where she and Julia were going to live.
A few days after, the post brought letters from Mr. Grandly, one for Emily and one for Julia. Julia’s letter ran as follows:
’Dear Mrs. Bentley,—–I write by this post to Miss Watson, advising her that her cousin, Mr. Price, is most anxious to make her acquaintance, and asking her to send the dog-cart to-morrow to meet him at the station. I must take upon myself the responsibility for this step. I have seen Mr. Price again, and he has confirmed me in my good opinion of him. He seems most anxious, not only to do everything right, but to make matters as pleasant and agreeable as possible for his cousin. He has written me a letter recognising Miss Watson’s claim upon him, and constituting himself her trustee. I have not had yet time to prepare a deed of gift, but there can be little doubt that Miss Watson’s position is now quite secure. So far so good; but more than ever does the only clear and satisfactory way out of this miserable business seem to me to be a marriage between Mr. Hubert Price and Miss Watson. I have already told you that he is a nice, refined young man, of gentlemanly bearing, good presence, and