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[ALL BIGHTS RESERVED.] STRIVE AND THRIVE. --0- CHAPTER XXV. AN 'UNWELCOME STRANGER. Miss WALWORTH could not long rest under the weight of obligations which her hospitable friends imposed » upon her; and when a few days had elapsed, and by their aid she had procured some necessary clothing, she announced her determination of seeking employ- ment. She saw plainly that she could do nothing for the Sibbalds which would remunerate them for the support of herself and brother; and although she would have been too happy to make her home with them, she never could consent to do so as a dependant. When her friends found that her resolution was fixed, they reflected how they might best aid her endea- vours at self-support, and many were the plans dis- cussed in family council for this purpose. Newspapers were consulted, and long lists of adver- tisements were daily examined, to see if there were any wants which Eda could supply. Don't you think, Sally," said Grace, one morning, that it would be a good plan to take Eda to our stylish cousins, the Minks ? They must have plenty of plain sewing to do, and embroidery, too." I have thought of them," replied Sally; but I do not like to ask favours of such people, who seem almost to have forgotten us since they have become rich. They were glad enough to associate with us before poor Arthur s death." We must not mind that, if we can assist Eda," said Grace. I am sure I do not want to visit such grand people, nor to have them visit us. How would such over-dressed ladies look making a morning-call in a parlour like this, with their carriage and liveried servants at the door ? Neither do I want them," said Sally; but Ido not like to be overlooked just because I am poor. Every- body knows that the Minks would be nothing except for their money, and that but for that terrible accident which deprived us at once of our brother and nephew, they would have been as poor as we are now." And poor Arthur would have had all that immense wealth," added Grace. I am sure he would never have made such a ridiculous display of it." This subject was, of course, one of frequent dis- cussion between the unfortunate sisters and it was revived now chiefly because they wished Eda to be informed on a topic of so great interest to themselves. Some part of these facts, of course, Miss Walworth already knew. Her first interview with Grace had made her acquainted with the loss of Arthur Sibbald and his family, by the calamity of which she had herself so nearly been a victim, and she had subsequently heard from the sisters something of the great fortune which had been diverted from their family by this memor- able catastrophe. Of the Minks, upon whose shoulders the golden shower had alighted, she had never before heard nor of course could she have the slightest suspicion that she had once seen and conversed with the head of that now aristocratic family, at her own home, and on the very day when her acquaintance With Grace commenced. Although Sally Sibbald tried hard to keep down her resentment at the upstart Minks, it awoke to new life whenever the name was mentioned; and she would have probably submitted to any amount of suffering rather than have asked a personal favour at the hands of any of the family. But she believed that she ought not to let this feel- ing operate to the prejudice of her friends, especially as she was certain that it would be rather conferring than receiving an obligation, to supply them with such a seamstress as Eda was sure to prove. It was accordingly resolved that application should at once be made at the millionaire's, and Sally, over- coming all scruples, accompanied the anxious girl to the great house on that very day. They were received with much affability and cor- diality by Mrs. Mink, who, to their great delight, declared that a seamstress was exactly what she did want, and she believed she could give steady employ- ment for six months to a competent person. You know Miranda has a great deal of extra work about these days," she added, with an expres- sive look at Sally, especially embroidery, which she likes to have done under her eye. Her dresses, of course, are all given out, and the colonel complains of the enormous bills. We discharged one young woman only a few days since for some impertinence, «* anc*we f°und no one to take her place. We Ra6re pay^nS her nearly two dollars a day, and I dare say your friend from the country would be glad to Worlr for TIQI-P -M J • J? ur nalt that price. Eda expressed her perfect willingness to do so. Have you any sx>echnents of your work ?" asked Mrs.^ Mink. Miss Walworth produced some, which were pro- nounced highly satisfactory. I expect Miranda every moment," continued the great lady. "She and her pa, that is to say the colonel, are out driving, but they were to be at home at two, which it is now several minutes past. Of course, I prefer to see Mi. before deciding positively, as she may have engaged some one. Besides, I want her to see your work, which I am sure she will like." The great colonel and'his dashing daughter came at last. Miranda was met at the front door by her mother, who detained her there a few moments, to give her some account of the visitors who awaited her. Oh, I am very glad," she said, as she sailed into the room, richly dressed, and extended a hand, with an air of great condescension, to Miss Sibbald. Sally took it, feeling very much as if she would like to bite it, but replying politely to Miss Mink's salutation. I am so glad you have brought us help," she added, quickly, and before Sally could introduce her friend. This is the young woman, I suppose. What y did you say her name was, mother ? While Miranda spoke, her eyes were fixed in very evident surprise upon the beautiful but greatly dis- concerted Eda. I declare I never thought to ask," replied Honora. "Miss Walworth," said Sally, quickly, for she now remembered with some embarrassment that she had not formally introduced Eda even to Mrs. Mink. She had only spoken of her as a young friend of hers from the country. But when her name was pronounced, the mother and daughter at once exchanged glances and the for- mer, who lacked the presence of mind which at all times characterised Miss Mink, put up her hands and exclaimed- Is it possible that-that- Pray, mother, be quiet!" interposed Miranda, very quickly. I presume the young woman is not any one whom you have ever seen or heard of before." Oh, of course not! I did not say she was, did I?" Mrs. Mink had only in part recovered her self- Possession, and still gazed with an air of actual alarm upon the fair young stranger. Miss Sibbald had in the meantime been trying to speak, and she now said calmly, but earnestly- I was about to tell you, and should have done so sooner, only that the subject is for obvious reasons a most painful one to me, that this young lady, Miss Eda Walworth, was one of the passengers on that ill- fated boat on which my poor brother lost his life. She, with her brother, were saved by the efforts of an English gentleman, a Mr. Belmont, who was one of the passengers, and who at the same time rescued an infant. The child's parents were lost, and its rela- tions being advertised for by Miss Walworth's father, We sent Grace to see it, hoping that it might prove to be dear little Arthur. In this, of course, we were disappointed, but it was thus that our acquaintance With Miss Walworth commenced. She has since been unfortunate—and—and—that is all." Extreme pallor evinced the great agitation of both Mry. Mink and her daughter during the recital of this brief story; but if this was observed, it was considered only the natural effect of an exciting Narrative upon ladies of a highly nervous tempera- ment. This opinion was fully confirmed by Miranda's reply It is, then, as mother and I suspected the moment We heard the name, for, of course, we had heard this romantic story before, which, if I mistake not, was in he newspapers at the time. You have really been quite a heroine, then, Miss—a—Walworth." a one as I hope never to be again," Eda re- plied, with a smile. "Ah, very well answered. And now as to—to iisiness matters; will you please to let me see the Peeimens of your work which you have brought °U'tlie embroidei'y more particularly?" ■E-aa showed them, and Miranda, barely touching nem with still ungloved and trembW fingers, jh- etantly replied8 fa shin011' yes"it's very nice—very fine indeed W@ vnv,! certMnly have work for you, either here or at w ttwie. Wfi will send vou word to-morrow, for I 1 really have too many engagements this morning to j give you another minute." No small part of Miss Mink's trepidation had been owing to her fear that Belmont might chance to call before Eda had departed. She had no especial reason j to expect him that afternoon, but as his visits were ¡ frequent, and occurred at uncertain hours, she could | not feel quite free from danger. But the unprincipled Miranda, although partaking ? in the game of duplicity which was designed to pre- ¡ vent Howard and Miss Walworth from meeting, was entirely ignorant of that far graver crime which lay j upon the consciences of her parents, rendering them morbidly sensitive to the fear of exposure. We will not trouble you to call again," Miranda ¡ added, as her visitors went out. I shall be sure to r come and see you soon, and make definite arrange- ments about the work. Good morning." Well! We are not quite pushed out! said Sally, indignantly, when they were outside the door. The I, insolent little hussy! I wish you would not toltch her work." Eda answered, I will decline the work, if it is your wish, but I shall as certainly seek it else- where." Oh, then we had better pocket the insult and the money together, for I know by experience how difficult it will prove for you to obtain other em- ployment at anything like remunerative prices. They I are at least rich and able to pay. But see that you charge them roundly, for it will be some satisfac- I tion if we can do something towards spoiling the Egyptians." CHAPTER XXVI. I A GENEROUS OFFER. GREAT was the commotion produced in Colonel Mink's family by Eda's innocent call, and it was difficult at first for either Honora or her daughter to believe that she had not heard of Mr. Belmont's arrival, and taken this mode of throwing herself in his way. But this view of the case was dismissed on reflec- tion as highly improbable, and the next thought was how to make most sure of keeping her in ignorance of a fact, the knowledge of which might prove so detrimental to Miranda. Of course, she must not come here," said Miss Mink; and if we give her work, even though we send it to her and send for it, it can hardly fail but she will sometimes come for directions. We might, indeed, request her not to come, but that would quite shock her, I suppose, for this kind of people have really quite high notions about being treated with politeness." Never mind their notions," said the mother; she will be glad enough to get the work and the pay on any terms that we choose to dictate." It isn't really necessary to have anything to do with her, except to call there and make some excuse for not employing her. Of course, then she would not come again, and the danger would be very slight of her learning anything about Belmont. People in their station really know nothing of what is going on in our circle." That's very true." our And even if she should learn that he was here, and if they should meet, mamma," added Miranda, glanc- ing at the mirror, 1 don't think there is much to be apprehended." "Neither should I, my child, if You don't know, perhaps, how far Belmont has gone," added Miranda, in a lower voice; and he is evidently not a trifler. I am certain that the evening before last he was on the point of declaring himself, when papa came up to invite us down to champagne and oysters. I would have given worlds for another ten minutes. Not that it will make any difference. It's sure to come, if I'm any judge of signs; and I'm sure I ought to be, after having had seven offers." Seven, my love ? Yes, counting Marberry and that Portuguese, Don what's-his-name ? Oh, that yellow old fool! Yes, I'd forgotten him. Well, I am very glad to hear you are getting on so well with Belmont." What has become of pa ? He knows nothing of all this yet." Oh, he's gone to the stables with Richard. One woyld think the man had been a coachman in his day, by thG way he follows up the horses. But mind, when he comes in, I wish to see him alone about this busi- ness, and I will communicate the result of our deli- berations to you." Oh, very well. I shall be glad enough to be out of the way. You can decide; and all that I shall have to do, will be to obey." Colonel Mink received the startling intelligence of Eda's arrival with marked agitation, and with an out- burst of violent wrath at the ill-fortune which threatened to expose his duplicity and to disappoint his cherished plans. He believed it improbable, indeed, that Belmont would wed an obscure and portionless girl like Eda, whatever might be her attractions or the associations which endeared her to him; but he was sure that he would discontinue his addresses to Miranda if he should discover the bad faith with which his frank and ingenuous confidence had been met. Would it not be better, he asked himself, to hasten to Howard, and proclaim the discovery of the object of his search, trusting to his honour to ratify the already implied engagement existing between himself and Miranda ? He hesitated, but conscience made him cowardly, and he believed he saw a safer course. His ambition to have a peer of the English realm for a son-in-law (for such he believed Belmont was sure to become) was so great, that he would leave nothing undone to ensure its gratification, and a persistence in guilt was resolved upon. He felt even proud of the sagacity which dictated this scheme, in which he could see ] nothing but the most certain success. Miss Walworth and her friends were of course not surprised to see the carriage of Colonel Mink at their door on the next day after their visit to that aristo- cratic family, but they were destined to be greatly amazed by the nature of the errand on which Miss Miranda had come, and which she lost no time in explaining. My father will not listen," she said, to the pro- position to engage Miss Wadsworth "Walworth," suggested Sally, somewhat sharply. Miss Walworth (I beg her pardon), in any hireling capacity. He has too much respect for her virtues and misfortunes, of which he has heard; and he hopes that she will allow him to confer a more substantial benefit upon both her and her excellent father-of whom he has also learned much through a—a—mutual friend." Eda looked really astounded now, and said that she was obliged to Colonel Mink for his good opinion. The colonel understands," continued Miranda, from an old friend of your father, that he has gone to the Island of Jamaica in very poor health." Oh, yes replied Eda, with a sigh. He went very early in the present autumn." And that he is unattended by any member of his family, or by any near friend. Am I correct ? Entirely so," replied Eda, quite breathless with expectation of what was coming. The colonel cannot doubt," continued Miss Mink, that the daughter of such a father must be most anxious to hasten to his side, to administer with her own hands to his wants-to-to inspire him with new fiope, if hope yet remains; or, if otherwise, to solace his last hours, and receive his last blessing." Eda's head sank to the table beside her violent tremors convulsed her frame, and she sobbed aloud. Miranda paused until her emotion had subdued, and then calmly continued- You have answered me, Miss Walworth. I cannot misconstrue these signs. You would like to join your father in the West Indies." "Would like toexclaimed Eda, clasping her hands. Heaven has no blessing in its gifts that I should value so highly as this It has been mv daily and nightly prayer." It is answered, then!" said Miranda. My father authorises me to say that you shall go at once, if it is your wish." But I cannot go without Franky," interposed Eda, with much simplicity. I cannot leave him." Of course not. Pa will furnish you with abun- dant means for your voyage out and back, and your sojourn there through the winter; and he will even take it upon himself to select a vessel for your passage. He also begs that you will accept of this purse, to enable you to make preparations for your journey. Some other time he will disclose the name of the friend to whose kind offices you are indebted for the interest which he takes in your welfare." Eda took the purse which Miss Mink had laid upon the table, and rising, she advanced nearer to her as she said— "I will not affect to hesitate in accepting this munificent kindness, but it seems to me like some fairy tale. I assure you that I have been dreading, while you spoke, that I should awake and find it a dream. Tell your excellent father this, and tell him that I have no words to express my joy or my grati- | tude." | Eda's voice trembled as she said this, and the tears were rolling down her cheeks. "You have expressed both very well," replied Miranda, with a patronising air. "I shall report everything to the colonel, who, I know, will be highly gratified. On what day will you be ready to sail?" Any day." Suppose there should be a vessel going to-mor- row?" All the better! I will be ready." And Miss Mink, after many polite adieus, and some gracious invitations to the Misses Sibbald to visit her after their home had been rendered lonely by the departure of their friend, returned to her carriage and drove off. The Misses Sibbald looked silently into each other's eyes for a moment after she had gone, like people astounded. "Well!" exclaimed Sally, "if the sky should fall this minute, I should not be a bit more surprised than I am now!" Nor I either," said Grace. I shouldn't care much if it did, I am so delighted!" replied Eda. Where—where is dear Franky? I must run out and tell him." (To be continued.)





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