“A young lady that is a great heiress is more to be pitied than envied: that is my opinion,” said she. “If she is not made a sacrifice of in marriage, it is a miracle. Men run after her for her money, or she fancies they do, which comes to the same thing; and perhaps she doesn’t marry at all for suspecting nobody loves her; which is downright foolish. Jonquil and Macky are in great spirits over what has come out, and I don’t suppose there is one neighbor to Kirkham that won’t be pleased to hear that there’s grandsons, even under the rose, to carry on the old line. Mrs. Laurence is a dear sweet lady, and the children are handsome little fellows as ever stepped; their father may well be proud of ’em. He has done a deal better for himself the second time than he did the first. I dare say it was what he suffered the first time made him choose so different the second. It is not to be wondered at that the squire is vext, but he ought to have learnt wisdom now, and it is to be hoped he will come round by and by. But whether or not, the deed’s done, and he cannot undo it.”
Mrs. Betts’s summary embodied all the common sense of the case, and left nothing more to be said.
LADY LATIMER IN WOLDSHIRE.
Mr. Fairfax welcomed Elizabeth on her arrival with an air of reserve, as if he did not wish to receive any intelligence from Minster Court. Bessie took the hint. The only news he had for her was that she might mount Janey now as soon as she pleased. Bessie was pleased to mount her the next morning, and to enjoy a delightful ride in her grandfather’s company. Janey went admirably, and promised to be an immense addition to the cheerfulness of her mistress’s life. Mr. Fairfax was gratified to see her happy, and they chatted cordially enough, but Bessie did not find it possible to speak of the one thing that lay uppermost in her mind.
In the afternoon Mrs. Stokes called, and having had a glimpse of Mr. Laurence Fairfax’s secret, and heard various reports since, she was curious for a full revelation. Bessie gave her the narrative complete, interspersed with much happy prediction; and Mrs. Stokes declared herself infinitely relieved to hear that, in spite of probabilities, the mysterious wife was a quite presentable person.
“You remember that I told you Miss Jocund was a lady herself,” she said. “The Jocunds are an old Norminster family, and we knew a Dr. Jocund in India. It was an odd thing for Miss Jocund to turn milliner; still, it must be much more comfortable than dependence upon friends. There is nothing so unsatisfactory as helpless poor relations. Colonel Stokes has no end of them. I wish they would turn milliners, or go into Lady Angleby’s scheme of genteel mistresses for national schools, or do anything but hang upon us. And the worst is, they are never grateful and never done with.”
“Are they ashamed to work?”