‘Good-bye, Aunt Stanbury,’ said Dorothy, kissing her aunt, with a tear in her eye and a sob in her throat.
‘Good-bye, my dear, good-bye.’ And Miss Stanbury, as she pressed her niece’s hand, left in it a bank-note.
‘I’m much obliged, aunt; I am indeed; but I’d rather not.’ And the bank-note was left on the parlour table.
DOROTHY AT HOME
Dorothy was received at home with so much affection and such expressions of esteem as to afford her much consolation in her misery. Both her mother and her sister approved of her conduct. Mrs Stanbury’s approval was indeed accompanied by many expressions of regret as to the good things lost. She was fully alive to the fact that life in the Close at Exeter was better for her daughter than life in their little cottage at Nuncombe Putney. The outward appearance which Dorothy bore on her return home was proof of this. Her clothes, the set of her hair, her very gestures and motions had framed themselves on town ideas. The faded, wildered, washed-out look, the uncertain, purposeless bearing which had come from her secluded life and subjection to her sister had vanished from her. She had lived among people, and had learned something of their gait and carriage. Money we know will do almost everything, and no doubt money had had much to do with this. It is very pretty to talk of the alluring simplicity of a clean calico gown; but poverty will shew itself to be meagre, dowdy, and draggled in a woman’s dress, let the woman be ever so simple, ever so neat, ever so independent, and ever so high-hearted. Mrs Stanbury was quite alive to all that her younger daughter was losing. Had she not received two offers of marriage while she was at Exeter? There was no possibility that offers of marriage should be made in the cottage at Nuncombe Putney. A man within the walls of the cottage would have been considered as much out of place as a wild bull. It had been matter of deep regret to Mrs Stanbury that her daughter should not have found herself able to marry Mr Gibson. She knew that there was no matter for reproach in this, but it was a misfortune, a great misfortune. And in the mother’s breast there had been a sad, unrepressed feeling of regret that young people should so often lose their chances in the world through over-fancifulness, and ignorance as to their own good. Now when she heard the story of Brooke Burgess, she