He smiled superciliously as he regretted that his music was not of that description, and Charlotte felt ready to sink into the earth at the indignity she had done the guitar in forgetting that it could accompany anything but such songs as Valancourt sang to Emily. She begged his pardon humbly; and he declared that he had a great respect for a lady’s scruples, and should be happy to meet her another evening. ‘If Mrs. Beckett would allow her,’ said Charlotte, overpowered with gratitude: ’there would be the moon full to-morrow— how delightful!’ He could spare a short interval between the dinner and the tea; and with this promise he took leave.
Honest little Charlotte told Mrs. Beckett the whole story, and all her eager wishes for to-morrow evening; and Jane sighed and puzzled herself, and knew it would make Martha very angry, but could not help being goodnatured. Jane had a great deference for Martha’s strong, rough character; but then Martha had never lived in a great house, and did not know ‘what was what,’ nor the difference between ’low people’ and upper servants. So Jane acted chaperon as far as her easy discretion went, and had it to say to her own conscience, and to the angry Martha, that he never said one word that need offend any young woman.
There was a terrible storm below-stairs in the House Beautiful at the idea of Delaford taking up with Mrs. Frost’s little kitchen-maid-Delaford, the lady’s-maid killer par excellence, wherever Lady Conway went, and whose coquetries whitened the cheeks of Miss Conway’s poor Marianne, the object of his attentions whenever he had no one else in view. He had not known Charlotte to be a kitchen-maid when he first beheld her, and her fair beauty and retiring grace had had full scope, assisted by her veneration for himself; and now the scorn of the grand Mrs. Fanshawe, and the amusement of teasing Marianne, only made him the more bent on patronizing ‘the little rustic,’ as he called her. He was deferential to Mrs. Beckett, who felt herself in her element in discussing plate, china, and large establishments with him; and he lent books, talked poetry, and played the guitar to Charlotte, and even began to take her portrait, with her mouth all on one side.
Delaford was an admirable servant, said the whole Conway family; he was trusted as entirely as he represented, and Lady Conway often gave him charge over her son in sports and expeditions beyond ladies’ management: he was, in effect, nearly the ruler of the household, and never allowed his lady to go anywhere if he did not approve. If it had not been for the ‘little rustic’s’ attractions, perhaps he might have made strong demonstrations against the House Beautiful. Little did Miss Faithfull know the real cause of her receiving or retaining her lodgers.
MOTLEY THE ONLY WEAR.
For better far than passion’s
Or aught of worldly choice,
To listen His own will to know,
And, listening, hear his voice.
The Angel of Marriage—REV. I. WILLIAMS.