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I AM an old woman now, and things are
very different to what they were in my
youth. Then we, who travelled, travelled in
coaches, carrying six inside, and making a
two days' journey out of what people now go
over in a couple of hours with a whizz and a
flash, and a screaming whistle, enough to deafen
one. Then letters came in but three times a
week; indeed, in some places in Scotland
where I have stayed when I was a girl, the
post came in but once a month;—but letters
were letters then; and we made great prizes
of them, and read them and studied them
like books. Now the post comes rattling in
twice a day, bringing short jerky notes, some
without beginning or end, but just a little
sharp sentence, which well-bred folk would
think too abrupt to be spoken. Well, well!
they may all be improvements,—I dare say
they are; but you will never meet with a
Lady Ludlow in these days.

I will try and tell you about her. It is no
story; it has neither beginning, middle, nor

My father was a poor clergyman with a
large family. My mother was always said to
have good blood in her veins; and when she
wanted to maintain her position with the
people she was thrown among,—principally
rich democratic manufacturers, all for liberty
and the French Revolution,—she would put
on a pair of ruffles, trimmed with real old
English point, very much darned to be sure,
but which could not be bought new for
love or money, as the art of making it was
lost years before. These ruffles showed, as
she said, that her ancestors had been
Somebodies, when the grandfathers of the rich
folk, who now looked down upon her, had
been Nobodies,—if, indeed, they had any
grandfathers at all. I don't know whether
any one out of our own family ever noticed
these ruffles,—but we were all taught as
children to feel rather proud when my mother
put them on, and to hold up our heads as
became the descendants of the lady who had
first possessed the lace. Not but what my
dear father often told us that pride was a
great sin; we were never allowed to be
proud of anything but my mother's ruffles:
and she was so innocently happy when she
put them on,—often, poor dear creature, to a
very worn and thread-bare gown,—that I
still think, even after all my experience of
life, they were a blessing to the family. You
will think that I am wandering away from
my Lady Ludlow. Not at all. The lady
who had owned the lace, Ursula Hanbury,
was a common ancestress of both my mother
and my Lady Ludlow. And so it fell out, that
when my poor father died, and my mother was
sorely pressed to know what to do with her
nine children, and looked far and wide for
signs of willingness to help, Lady Ludlow
sent her a letter, proffering aid and assistance.
I see that letter now; a large sheet of
thick yellow paper, with a straight broad
margin left on the left-hand side of the
delicate Italian writing,—writing which
contained far more in the same space of paper
than all the sloping, or masculine hand-
writings of the present day. It was sealed with,
a coat of arms,—a lozenge,—for Lady Ludlow
was a widow. My mother made us notice
the motto, "Foy et Loy," and told us where
to look for the quarterings of the Hanbury
arms before she opened the letter. Indeed,
I think she was rather afraid of what the
contents might be; for, as I have said, in her
anxious love for her fatherless children, she
had written to many people upon whom, to
tell truly, she had but little claim; and
their cold, hard answers had many a time
made her cry, when she thought none of us
were looking. I do not even know if she
had ever seen Lady Ludlow; all I knew of
her was that she was a very grand lady,
whose grandmother had been half-sister to
my mother's great-grandmother; but of her
character and circumstances I had heard
nothing, and I doubt if my mother was
acquainted with them.

I looked over my mother's shoulder to
read the letter; it began, "Dear cousin
Margaret Dawson," and I think I felt hopeful
from the moment I saw those words.
She went on to say,—stay, I think I can
remember the very words:

much grieved to hear of the loss you have sustained in                         the death of so good a husband, and so excellent a
clergyman as I have always heard that my late cousin
Richard was esteemed to be.