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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.

CHAPTER V.

Willie Leighton’s return from England.

Soon after I became a resident in the dwelling of Mr. Leighton, they received a letter from Willie, informing them that the estate of his deceased relative could not be finally arranged in less time than a year, perhaps longer; and he thought that instead of returning to Philadelphia he would enter a College in England, and devote the intervening time to study.  His parents could not object, knowing it to be for his interest, as he had not, when a boy taken very kindly to study.  A year passed away, and Willie did not return, but they received frequent letters from him.  Near the close of the second year he wrote, informing them that he intended leaving England on the tenth of the month following, as the matters pertaining to the property left him were now satisfactorily arranged.

About this time Laura returned home from school, having finished her term of study.  Mrs. Leighton intended sending Georgania to the same institution where Laura studied, but she was not to go till the coming autumn.  She wished, however, that I should remain with them till Birdie and Lewis should be old enough to send from home.  I had been very, very kindly treated in the home of Mrs. Leighton, and had become strongly attached to my pupils, especially the two younger of them; and I was glad of the opportunity of remaining near to my mother.

As the time drew near when they looked for the return of Willie, all the family were busy with their preparations for giving him a joyous welcome.

When I observed the eagerness with which they looked forward to his return, I could not at times help feeling a pang of regret that I had neither brother nor sister of my own.  Had it not been for my surviving parent, I should have felt entirely alone in the world.  Not that I envied the Leightons—­far from it—­but I could not help sometimes contrasting my position in life with theirs.  They being blessed with the love of fond parents, brothers and sisters, along with the possession of abundant wealth, and every comfort which tends to form a happy home; while I was a poor, fatherless girl, obliged to labor for my own support and that of my mother.  I could not help thinking how different all might have been had the life of my father been spared.  I do not think that I was usually of an unhappy disposition; on the contrary, I was inclined to be hopeful and cheerful; but I believe with the best of us, the happiness of others more favoured than ourselves will give rise to a feeling of sadness.

The time soon arrived when, according to the letter they had received from Willie, they might daily expect his arrival.  None of the family were able to settle their minds upon any employment, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I could obtain the attention of my pupils during the time appointed for their daily lessons, and, being aware of the cause, I could hardly blame them.  Their suspense was at length ended by the arrival of Willie.  Never shall I forget the joy which was depicted upon the countenance of little Lewis when suddenly he burst into my room, exclaiming,

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