Sometimes they talked of Allan.
“Allan is very good,” said Rosamund, “very good indeed to my grandmother—he will sit with her, and hear her stories, and read to her, and try to divert her a hundred ways. I wonder sometimes he is not tired. She talks him to death!”
“Then you confess, Rosamund, that the old lady does tire you sometimes?”
“Oh no, I did not mean that—it’s very different—I am used to all her ways, and I can humor her, and please her, and I ought to do it, for she is the only friend I ever had in the world.”
The new friends did not conclude their walk till it was late, and Rosamund began to be apprehensive about the old lady, who had been all this time alone.
On their return to the cottage, they found that Margaret had been somewhat impatient—old ladies, good old ladies, will be so at times—age is timorous and suspicious of danger, where no danger is.
Besides, it was Margaret’s bedtime, for she kept very good hours—indeed, in the distribution of her meals, and sundry other particulars, she resembled the livers in the antique world, more than might well beseem a creature of this.
So the new friends parted for that night. Elinor having made Margaret promise to give Rosamund leave to come and see her the next day.
* * * * *
Miss Clare, we may be sure, made her brother very happy, when she told him of the engagement she had made for the morrow, and how delighted she had been with his handsome friend.
Allan, I believe, got little sleep that night. I know not, whether joy be not a more troublesome bedfellow than grief—hope keeps a body very wakeful, I know.
Elinor Clare was the best good creature—the least selfish human being I ever knew—always at work for other people’s good, planning other people’s happiness—continually forgetful to consult for her own personal gratifications, except indirectly, in the welfare of another; while her parents lived, the most attentive of daughters—since they died, the kindest of sisters—I never knew but one like her. It happens that I have some of this young lady’s letters in my possession—I shall present my reader with one of them. It was written a short time after the death of her mother, and addressed to a cousin, a dear friend of Elinor’s, who was then on the point of being married to Mr. Beaumont, of Staffordshire, and had invited Elinor to assist at her nuptials. I will transcribe it with minute fidelity.
ELINOR CLARE TO MARIA LESLIE.
Widford, July the —, 17—.
Health, Innocence, and Beauty, shall be thy bride-maids, my sweet cousin. I have no heart to undertake the office. Alas! what have I to do in the house of feasting?