Here the poor woman’s grief choked her utterance, and, covering her face with her hands, she wept aloud. I requested the domestic to bring her some food, which she ate like one famishing. I placed in her hand money sufficient to secure her from want for two or three days at least. I did not in the least doubt her story, for her countenance bore the impress of sincerity. When she left, I requested her to call again in two or three days, as I felt certain that Mrs. Leighton would assist her in obtaining some employment. She left me with many thanks, and blessing me after the manner of her country.
After tea I felt that I must walk out in the air, as I was suffering from a severe headache. I made my way to the church-yard, and sought the graves of my parents; and, seating myself at the headstone of my mother’s grave, I remained for a long time wrapped in profound meditation.
I know not how long I remained thus, for I took no note of time; but when I raised my head at the sound of approaching footsteps, the shades of evening were gathering around me. It was Willie Leighton whose footsteps had aroused me from my reverie.
“My dear Clara,” he began.
But when I looked up with a little surprise at his familiar use of my christian name, it being the first time he had thus addressed me, he colored slightly, and said,—
“I beg pardon, Miss Roscom, for thus intruding upon your solitude, but, finding you absent on our return, I came to seek you and, with your permission, to escort you home. I think you do wrong to come to this lonely place to cherish a sorrow which seems to me to be almost unreasonable. I would not have you forget your parents; but, surely, if they are permitted to look down upon you from their home in heaven, they would not wish to see you thus debar yourself from society and all the innocent pleasures of youth. The dews of evening,” said he, “are beginning to fall, and I must insist upon your return home.”
On our way home I could not help a feeling of uneasiness lest Willie’s attentions to me should displease the family. I had allowed him to accompany me home, as I could not have done otherwise without absolute rudeness; yet I feared that, in so doing, I should displease his friends. My uneasiness increased as, upon entering the house, I thought I detected a shade of displeasure in the manner of Mrs. Leighton toward me. If Willie noticed anything of the kind, he seemed unconscious of it, for he made several efforts to engage us in conversation; but, for some reason or other, no one, except himself, seemed inclined to be social that evening. I felt very much depressed in spirits, for I attributed their silence to displeasure because Willie had accompanied me home, and, at an early hour, I bade them good night, and retired to my own apartment. After reading,