“With young Carlton out of the way, and separated, as they will be, for years, any rising passion she may now feel for him will soon die out, and if you make your advances with caution, and be not too precipitate, I have no doubt that you will eventually secure both the lady and the estate, so of the two, I fancy that you have rather the best of the bargain.” And after a little more conversation on the subject, this worthy pair parted.
And now let us introduce the youth whose future welfare had been the difficulty about which the widow and Ralph had given themselves so much concern.
A tall, slight, but decidedly handsome youth, between eighteen and nineteen years of age, wearing the Collegiate cap and gown, was pacing somewhat impatiently up and down the quadrangle of St. John’s College, evidently expecting the approach of some person whom he was most desirous of seeing. This was Arthur Carlton, the protege of Sir Jasper Coleman. He was an orphan, having lost both parents ’ere he knew them. His father had been a Peninsular officer and companion-in-arms of the Baronet, who, on the death of his friend, undertook to see to the education and future welfare of the little Arthur. On losing his mother he had been removed under the care of his nurse to Vellenaux, where he had been only a few months, when the little Edith made her appearance on the scene of action, and being nearly of an age they soon became good friends and fond of the society of each other, because of mutual assistance while pursuing their studies together, which they continued to do until young Carlton was by his kind patron sent to school, prior to his going to college at Oxford. Fond of study, he readily acquired knowledge which he stored up to be used hereafter as circumstances might demand; he was aware of his real position, and that his future success in life must chiefly depend upon his own exertions.
His patron in caring for him during his early years, and giving him the benefit of a university education, had, in the young man’s opinion, fully carried out the promise made to his father, on his death bed, whether on the completion of his education his benefactor would continue to assist him by using his interest to procure him some suitable position in which he could carve out for himself, a road to name and fame, he knew not, but nevertheless he felt a deep sense of gratitude for what had already been done for him, by his father’s old friend. He was becoming restless when the friend expected advanced at a smart pace to meet him, and proved to be Tom Barton, the youngest son of the Bartons of the Willows, a worthy old couple who resided on their own property, the so called Willows which joined the estate of Sir Jasper Coleman. In this family besides daughters there were two sons, the eldest Horace Barton had graduated at St. John’s, and subsequently had obtained an appointment in the civil service of the East India Company, and had gone out to Calcutta, where he had now been for several years. Tom, like his brother, had been educated at Oxford, and was now about leaving college to return to his home for a few weeks, prior to his leaving for London, to pursue the profession he had chosen, that of the law.