Miss Monro said that the name was somehow familiar to her, and by degrees she recollected the young curate who had come to inquire after Ellinor in that dreadful illness she had had at Hamley in the year 1829. Ellinor knew nothing of that visit; no more than Miss Monro did of what had passed between the two before that anxious night. Ellinor just thought it possible it might be the same Mr. Livingstone, and would rather it were not, because she did not feel as if she could bear the frequent though not intimate intercourse she must needs have, if such were the case, with one so closely associated with that great time of terror which she was striving to bury out of sight by every effort in her power. Miss Monro, on the contrary, was busy weaving a romance for her pupil; she thought of the passionate interest displayed by the fair young clergyman fifteen years ago, and believed that occasionally men could be constant, and hoped that if Mr. Livingstone were the new canon, he might prove the rara avis which exists but once in a century. He came, and it was the same. He looked a little stouter, a little older, but had still the gait and aspect of a young man. His smooth fair face was scarcely lined at all with any marks of care; the blue eyes looked so kindly and peaceful, that Miss Monro could scarcely fancy they were the same which she had seen fast filling with tears; the bland calm look of the whole man needed the ennoblement of his evident devoutness to be raised into the type of holy innocence which some of the Romanists call the “sacerdotal face.” His entire soul was in his work, and he looked as little likely to step forth in the character of either a hero of romance or a faithful lover as could be imagined. Still Miss Monro was not discouraged; she remembered the warm, passionate feeling she had once seen break through the calm exterior, and she believed that what had happened once might occur again.
Of course, while all eyes were directed on the new canon, he had to learn who the possessors of those eyes were one by one; and it was probably some time before the idea came into his mind that Miss Wilkins, the lady in black, with the sad pale face, so constant an attendant at service, so regular a visitor at the school, was the same Miss Wilkins as the bright vision of his youth. It was her sweet smile at a painstaking child that betrayed her—if, indeed, betrayal it might be called where there was no wish or effort to conceal anything. Canon Livingstone left the schoolroom almost directly, and, after being for an hour or so in his house, went out to call on Mrs. Randall, the person who knew more of her neighbours’ affairs than any one in East Chester.