When the rector was removed from this sublunary sphere, the Rev. Charles Denham, through the interest of Lord Patronage, whose fag he had been while at Eton, obtained the vacant rectorship. This was considered by the good folks of the district to be a fortunate circumstance, and things went smoothly on as in the good old time. But on the death of her parents Emily Barton, as the reader already knows, left Vellenaux to reside in London. The Rev. gentleman did not know which way to turn; he was sorely puzzled; he had depended so much on Emily that he began to think seriously of the possibility of being able to induce Miss Barton to exchange that name for the one of Denham. This matter had been revolving in his mind for some time past, though he had given no utterance to his feelings, and now she was about to leave that part of the country, perhaps for a lengthened period. “If,” thought he, “the Sunday school had Emily at its head, it would materially assist me,” and he felt convinced that the rectory, without a wife to superintend it, would be, after all, a very lonely place to pass his days in, would she not consent to undertake the double duties. “I have never spoken to her,” he said musingly, as he paced up and down his study, “but I shall, when grief for the loss of her parents will allow her to listen to such a proposal.”
On parting with him on the morning of her departure, she was somewhat embarassed at his altered manner towards her. She could not but notice his warm pressure of her hand, and his earnestness of manner, when asking permission to visit her in London.
“My aunt and sister will, I am sure, be always happy to receive you when in London,” she quietly replied, and after a moment’s pause, continued: “I shall likewise still take an interest in the school, and shall be glad to learn how my little scholars are getting on.”
The young rector found it necessary to visit London on several occasions during the next twelvemonth.