Accordingly, in less than a week there came to Collingwood a Boston governess, armed and equipped with all the accomplishments of the day; and beneath the supervision of Richard and Victor, Grace Atherton and Mrs. Chapen, Edith’s education began.
Eight times have the Christmas fires been kindled on the hearths of Shannondale’s happy homes; eight times the bell from St Luke’s tower has proclaimed an old year dead, and a new one born; eight times the meek-eyed daisy struggling through the April snow, has blossomed, faded and died; eight times has summer in all her glowing beauty sat upon the New England hills, and the mellow autumnal light of the hazy October days falls on Collingwood for the eighth time since last we trod the winding paths and gravelled walks where now the yellow leaves are drifting down from the tall old maples and lofty elms, and where myriad flowers of gorgeous hue are lifting their proud heads unmindful of the November frosts hastening on apace. All around Collingwood seems the same, save that the shrubs and vines show a more luxurious growth, and the pond a wider sweep, but within there is an empty chair, a vacant place, for the old man has gone to join his lost ones where there is daylight forever, and the winter snows have four times fallen upon his grave. They missed him at first and mourned for him truly, but they have become accustomed to live without him, and the household life goes on much as it did before.
It is now the afternoon of a mild October day, and the doors and windows are opened wide to admit the warm south wind, which, dallying for a moment with the curtains of costly lace, floats on to the chamber above, where it toys with the waving plumes a young girl is arranging upon her riding hat, pausing occasionally to speak to the fair blonde who sits watching her movements, and whose face betokens a greater maturity than her own, for Grace Atherton’s family Bible says she is thirty-two, while Edith is seventeen.
Beautiful Edith Hastings. Eight years of delicate nurture, tender care and perfect health have ripened her into a maiden of wondrous beauty, and far and near the people talk of the blind man’s ward, the pride and glory of Collingwood. Neither pains nor money, nor yet severe discipline, have been spared by Richard Harrington to make her what she is, and while her imperious temper has bent to the one, her intellect and manners have expanded and improved beneath this influence of the other, and Richard has not only a plaything and pet in the little girl he took from obscurity, but also a companion and equal, capable of entering with him the mazy labyrinths of science, and astonishing him with the wealth of her richly stored mind. Still, in everything pertaining to her womanhood she is wholly feminine and simple-hearted as a child. Now, as of old, she bounds through