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of life, and who asked nothing better than to
meet all his fellow-passengers in this world on
the sunny side, too. Estimating him by years,
he had turned fifty. Judging him by lightness
of heart, strength of constitution, and capacity
for enjoyment, he was no older than most men
who have only turned thirty.

"Thomas!" cried Mr. Vanstone, taking up his
old felt hat and his thick walking-stick from the
hall table. "Breakfast, this morning, at ten.
The young ladies are not likely to be down
earlier after the concert last night.—By-the-by,
how did you like the concert, yourself, eh? You
thought it was Grand? Quite right; so it was.
Nothing but Crash-Bang, varied now and then by
Bang-Crash; all the women dressed within an
inch of their lives; smothering heat, blazing gas,
and no room for anybodyyes, yes, Thomas:
Grand's the word for it, and Comfortable isn't."
With that expression of opinion, Mr. Vanstone
whistled to his vixenish terrier; flourished his
stick at the hall-door in cheerful defiance of the
rain; and set off through wind and weather for
his morning walk.

The hands, stealing their steady way round
the dial of the clock, pointed to ten minutes to
nine. Another member of the family appeared
on the stairsMiss Garth, the governess.

No observant eyes could have surveyed Miss
Garth without seeing at once that she was a
north-countrywoman. Her hard-featured face;
her masculine readiness and decision of movement;
her obstinate honesty of look and manner,
all proclaimed her border birth and border training.
Though little more than forty years of age,
her hair was quite grey; and she wore over it
the plain cap of an old woman. Neither hair
nor head-dress was out of harmony with her face
it looked older than her years: the hard
handwriting of trouble had scored it heavily at some
past time. The self-possession of her progress
down the stairs, and the air of habitual authority
with which she looked about her, spoke well for
her position in Mr. Vanstone's family. This was
evidently not one of the forlorn, persecuted,
pitiably dependent order of governesses. Here
was a woman who lived on ascertained and
honourable terms with her employersa woman
who looked capable of sending any parents in
England to the right-about, if they failed to rate
her at her proper value.

"Breakfast at ten?" repeated Miss Garth,
when the footman had answered the bell, and
had mentioned his master's orders. "Ha! I
thought what would come of that concert last
night. When people who live in the country
patronise public amusements, public amusements
return the compliment by upsetting the family
afterwards for days together. You're upset,
Thomas, I can seeyour eyes are as red as a
ferret's, and your cravat looks as if you had slept
in it. Bring the kettle at a quarter to tenand
if you don't get better in the course of the day,
come to me, and I'll give you a dose of physic.
That's a well-meaning lad, if you only let him
alone," continued Miss Garth, in soliloquy, when
Thomas had retired; "but he's not strong
enough for concerts twenty miles off. They
wanted me to go with them, last night. Yes:
catch me!"

Nine o'clock struck; and the minute hand
stole on to twenty minutes past the hour, before
any more footsteps were heard on the stairs. At
the end of that time, two ladies appeared,
descending to the breakfast-room togetherMrs.
Vanstone and her eldest daughter.

If the personal attractions of Mrs. Vanstone,
at an earlier period of life, had depended solely
on her native English charms of complexion and
freshness, she must have long since lost the last
relics of her fairer self. But her beauty, as a
young woman, had passed beyond the average
national limits; and she still preserved the
advantage of her more exceptional personal gifts.
Although she was now in her forty-fourth year;
although she had been tried, in bygone times, by
the premature loss of more than one of her
children, and by long attacks of illness which had
followed those bereavements of former years
she still preserved the fair proportion and subtle
delicacy of feature, once associated with the all-
adorning brightness and freshness of beauty,
which had left her never to return. Her eldest
child, now descending the stairs by her side, was
the mirror in which she could look back, and
see again the reflexion of her own youth. There,
folded thick on the daughter's head, lay the
massive dark hair, which, on the mother's,
was fast turning grey. There, in the daughter's
cheek, glowed the lovely dusky red which
had faded from the mother's, to bloom again
no more. Miss Vanstone had already reached
the first maturity of womanhood: she had
completed her six-and-twentieth year. Inheriting
the dark majestic character of her mother's
beauty, she had yet hardly inherited all its
charms. Though the shape of her face was the
same, the features were scarcely so delicate,
their proportion was scarcely so true. She
was not so tall. She had the dark brown
eyes of her motherfull and soft, with the
steady lustre in them which Mrs. Vanstone's
eyes had lostand yet there was less interest,
less refinement and depth of feeling in her
expression: it was gentle and feminine, but
clouded by a certain quiet reserve, from which
her mother's face was free. If we dare to look
closely enough, may we not observe, that the
moral force of character and the higher
intellectual capacities in parents, seem often to
wear out mysteriously in the course of
transmission to children? In these days of insidious
nervous exhaustion and subtly-spreading nervous
malady, is it not possible that the same rule may
apply, less rarely than we are willing to admit,
to the bodily gifts as well?

The mother and daughter slowly descended the
stairs togetherthe first dressed in dark brown,
with an Indian shawl thrown over her shoulders;
the second more simply attired in black, with