“I have but one cause of complaint against you all,” said the injured lady, “and it is this. A charge of so serious a nature should never have been made a subject of common report without my being offered a chance to defend myself. As for Mrs. Grimes, I can’t readily understand how she fell into the error she did. But she never would have fallen into it if she had not been more willing to think evil than good of her friends. I do not say this to hurt her; but to state a truth that it may be well for her, and perhaps some of the rest of us, to lay to heart. It is a serious thing to speak evil of another, and should never be done except on the most unequivocal evidence. It never occurred to me to say to Mrs. Grimes that I would pay for the lawn; that I supposed she or any one else would have inferred, when I said I would keep it.”
A great deal was said by all parties, and many apologies were made. Mrs. Grimes was particularly humble, and begged all present to forgive and forget what was past. She knew, she said, that she was apt to talk; it was a failing with her which she would try to correct. But that she didn’t mean to do any one harm.
As to the latter averment, it can be believed or not as suits every one’s fancy. All concerned in this affair felt that they had received a lesson they would not soon forget. And we doubt not, that some of our readers might lay it to heart with great advantage to themselves and benefit to others.
KATE DARLINGTON was a belle and a beauty; and had, as might be supposed, not a few admirers. Some were attracted by her person; some by her winning manners, and not a few by the wealth of her family. But though sweet Kate was both a belle and a beauty, she was a shrewd, clear-seeing girl, and had far more penetration into character than belles and beauties are generally thought to possess. For the whole tribe of American dandies, with their disfiguring moustaches and imperials, she had a most hearty contempt. Hair never made up, with her, for the lack of brains.
But, as she was an heiress in expectancy, and moved in the most fashionable society, and was, with all, a gay and sprightly girl, Kate, as a natural consequence, drew around her the gilded moths of society, not a few of whom got their wings scorched, on approaching too near.
Many aspired to be lovers, and some, more ardent than the rest, boldly pressed forward and claimed her hand. But Kate did not believe in the doctrine that love begets love in all cases. Were this so, it was clear that she would have to love half a dozen, for at least that number came kneeling to her with their hearts in their hands.
Mr. Darlington was a merchant. Among his clerks was the son of an old friend, who, in dying some years before, had earnestly solicited him to have some care over the lad, who at his death would become friendless. In accordance with this last request, Mr. Darlington took the boy into his counting-room; and, in order that he might, with more fidelity, redeem his promise to the dying father, also received him into his family.