XXXVIII. Sunday evening at brook 294
XXXIX. At Fairfield 305
XL. Another ride with the doctor 311
XLI. Friends and acquaintances 318
XLII. How friends may fall out 323
XLIII. Between themselves 328
XLIV. A long dull day 336
XLV. The squire’s will 343
XLVI. Tender and true 349
XLVII. Goodness prevails 360
XLVIII. Certain opinions 365
XLIX. Bessie’s last ride with the doctor 372
L. For better, for worse 381
THE VICISSITUDES OF BESSIE FAIRFAX.
HER BIRTH AND PARENTAGE.
The years have come and gone at Beechhurst as elsewhere, but the results of time and change seem to have almost passed it by. Every way out of the scattered forest-town is still through beautiful forest-roads—roads that cleave grand avenues, traverse black barren heaths, ford shallow rivers, and climb over ferny knolls whence the sea is visible. The church is unrestored, the parsonage is unimproved, the long low house opposite is still the residence of Mr. Carnegie, the local doctor, and looks this splendid summer morning precisely as it looked in the splendid summer mornings long ago, when Bessie Fairfax was a little girl, and lived there, and was very happy.
Bessie was not akin to the doctor. Her birth and parentage were on this wise. Her father was Geoffry, the third and youngest son of Mr. Fairfax of Abbotsmead in Woldshire. Her mother was Elizabeth, only child of the Reverend Thomas Bulmer, vicar of Kirkham. Their marriage was a love-match, concluded when they had something less than the experience of forty years between them. The gentleman had his university debts besides to begin life with, the lady had nothing. As the shortest way to a living he went into the Church, and the birth of their daughter was contemporary with Geoffry’s ordination. His father-in-law gave him a title for orders, and a lodging under his roof, and Mr. Fairfax grudgingly allowed his son two hundred a year for a maintenance.