“Good luck to him, God bless him!” said dame Brandon, as she entered the house. “He was always a kind, well-meant lad,” she continued, “and dame Brandon knows no evil can befall him; and Emily, my dear, you must keep your eye on some of the best fruit of the orchard, for he will be delighted with it, and much the more so if he knows your bright eyes watched its growth and your hands gathered it.”
These words were addressed to a girl of seventeen, who stood at an open window, in quite a pensive mood. She seemed not to hear the remark, but gazed in the direction the stage had passed.
The parents of Edward had died when he was quite young, and he, their only child, had been left to the care and protection of dame Brandon; and well had she cared for him, and been as a mother to the motherless.
“Now, Emi’, don’t fret! Edward won’t forget you. I’ve known him long; he has got a heart as true as steel.”
’T was not this that made her sad. She had no fears that he would forget his Emi’, but another thought pressed heavily on her mind, and she said,
“But, aunty, city life is one of danger. Temptations are there we little think of, and stronger hearts than Edward’s have quailed beneath their power.”
“Well done!” quoth Mrs. B., looking over her glasses; “a sermon, indeed, quite good for little you. But girls are timid creatures; they start and are frightened at the least unusual sound.” She assumed a more serious manner, and, raising her finger, pointing upwards, said, “But know you not there is a Power greater than that of which you speak?”
Emily seemed to be cheered by this thought. She hummed over a favorite air, and repaired to the performance of her evening duties.
Emily Brandon was a lovely creature, and of this Edward Dayton was well aware. He had spent his early days with her. His most happy hours had been passed in her company. Together they had frolicked over the green fields, and wandered by their clear streams. Hours passed as minutes when in each other’s company; and, when separated, each minute seemed an hour.
Now, for the first time, they were separated; and ever and anon, as she passed about at her work, she cast a fitful glance from the window, as if it were possible he might return.
How she wished she could have gone with him, to gently chide when sinners should entice, and lead him from error’s path, should gay temptation lure him therein! She was young in years, yet old in discretion; and had a heart that yearned for the good of all.
“Well, aunt,” said she, “I hope good luck will betide him, but sad thoughts will come when I think of what he will have to bear up under.”
“O, hush!” said the old lady; “simple girls have simple stories.”
It was a late hour in the evening that the coach entered the metropolis. Railroads were not then in vogue, and large baggage-waggons, lumbering teams and clumsy coaches, were drawn by two or more horses, over deep-rutted roads, and almost endless turnpikes.