“The wedding took place,” continued the good priest, “but a short time since; they were here at the last fete during their honeymoon, and a handsomer and happier couple was not to be seen as they danced under yonder trees. The young man, his wife, and mother, now live on a fine farm at Pont l’Eveque; and that model of a ship which you see yonder, with white flowers wreathed round it, is Annette’s offering of thanks to Our Lady of Grace, for having listened to her prayers, and protected her lover in the hour of peril.”
The captain having finished, there was a momentary silence. The tender-hearted Lady Lillycraft, who knew the story by heart, had led the way in weeping, and indeed had often begun to shed tears before they had come to the right place.
The fair Julia was a little flurried at the passage where wedding preparations were mentioned; but the auditor most affected was the simple Phoebe Wilkins. She had gradually dropt her work in her lap, and sat sobbing through the latter part of the story, until towards the end, when the happy reverse had nearly produced another scene of hysterics. “Go, take this case to my room again, child,” said Lady Lillycraft, kindly, “and don’t cry so much.”
“I won’t, an’t please your ladyship, if I can help it;—but I’m glad they made all up again, and were married.”
By the way, the case of this lovelorn damsel begins to make some talk in the household, especially among certain little ladies, not far in their teens, of whom she has made confidants. She is a great favourite with them all, but particularly so since she has confided to them her love secrets. They enter into her concerns with all the violent zeal and overwhelming sympathy with which little boarding-school ladies engage in the politics of a love affair.
I have noticed them frequently clustering about her in private conferences, or walking up and down the garden terrace under my window, listening to some long and dolorous story of her afflictions; of which I could now and then distinguish the ever-recurring phrases, “says he,” and “says she.”
I accidentally interrupted one of these little councils of war, when they were all huddled together under a tree, and seemed to be earnestly considering some interesting document. The flutter at my approach showed that there were some secrets under discussion; and I observed the disconsolate Phoebe crumpling into her bosom either a love-letter or an old valentine, and brushing away the tears from her cheeks.
The girl is a good girl, of a soft melting nature, and shows her concern at the cruelty of her lover only in tears and drooping looks; but with the little ladies who have espoused her cause, it sparkles up into fiery indignation: and I have noticed on Sunday many a glance darted at the pew of the Tibbets’s, enough even to melt down the silver buttons on old Ready Money’s jacket.