Rude and savage natures, who seem born with a propensity to express contempt for anything that looks like prosperity, yet felt respect for its declining lustre.
The farmers, and better sort of people, (as they are called,) all promised to provide for Rosamund when her grandmother should die. Margaret trusted in God and believed them.
She used to say, “I have lived many years in the world, and have never known people, good people, to be left without some friend; a relation, a benefactor, a something. God knows our wants—that it is not good for man or woman to be alone; and he always sends us a helpmate, a leaning place, a somewhat.” Upon this sure ground of experience, did Margaret build her trust in Providence.
* * * * *
Rosamund had just made an end of her story, (as I was about to relate,) and was listening to the application of the moral, (which said application she was old enough to have made herself, but her grandmother still continued to treat her, in many respects, as a child, and Rosamund was in no haste to lay claim to the title of womanhood,) when a young gentleman made his appearance and interrupted them.
It was young Allan Clare, who had brought a present of peaches, and some roses for Rosamund.
He laid his little basket down on a seat of the arbor; and in a respectful tone of voice, as though he were addressing a parent, inquired of Margaret “how she did.”
The old lady seemed pleased with his attentions—answered his inquiries by saying, that “her cough was less troublesome a-nights, but she had not yet got rid of it, and probably she never might; but she did not like to tease young people with an account of her infirmities.”
A few kind words passed on either side, when young Clare, glancing a tender look at the girl, who had all this time been silent, took leave of them with saying, “I shall bring Elinor to see you in the evening.”
When he was gone, the old lady began to prattle.
“That is a sweet-dispositioned youth, and I do love him dearly, I must say it—there is such a modesty in all he says or does—he should not come here so often, to be sure, but I don’t know how to help it; there is so much goodness in him, I can’t find it in my heart to forbid him. But, Rosamund, girl, I must tell you beforehand; when you grow older, Mr. Clare must be no companion for you: while you were both so young it was all very well—but the time is coming, when folks will think harm of it, if a rich young gentleman, like Mr. Clare, comes so often to our poor cottage.—Dost hear, girl? Why don’t you answer? Come, I did not mean to say anything to hurt you—speak to me, Rosamund—nay, I must not have you be sullen—I don’t love people that are sullen.”
And in this manner was this poor soul running on, unheard and unheeded, when it occurred to her, that possibly the girl might not be within hearing.