'WELL, Agnes, you must not take
such long walks again before
breakfast,' said my mother, observing
that I drank an extra cup of
coffee and ate nothing - pleading
the heat of the weather, and
the fatigue of my long walk as
an excuse. I certainly did feel
feverish and tired too.
'You always do things by extremes:
now, if you had taken a SHORT
walk every morning, and would
continue to do so, it would do
'Well, mamma, I will.'
'But this is worse than lying
in bed or bending over your books:
you have quite put yourself into
'I won't do it again,' said
I was racking my brains with
thinking how to tell her about
Mr. Weston, for she must know
he was coming to-morrow. However,
I waited till the breakfast things
were removed, and I was more
calm and cool; and then, having
sat down to my drawing, I began
- 'I met an old friend on the
sands to-day, mamma.'
'An old friend! Who could it
'Two old friends, indeed. One
was a dog;' and then I reminded
her of Snap, whose history I
had recounted before, and related
the incident of his sudden appearance
and remarkable recognition; 'and
the other,' continued I, 'was
Mr. Weston, the curate of Horton.'
'Mr. Weston! I never heard
of him before.'
'Yes, you have: I've mentioned
him several times, I believe:
but you don't remember.'
'I've heard you speak of Mr.
'Mr. Hatfield was the rector,
and Mr. Weston the curate: I
used to mention him sometimes
in contradistinction to Mr. Hatfield,
as being a more efficient clergyman.
However, he was on the sands
this morning with the dog - he
had bought it, I suppose, from
the rat-catcher; and he knew
me as well as it did - probably
through its means: and I had
a little conversation with him,
in the course of which, as he
asked about our school, I was
led to say something about you,
and your good management; and
he said he should like to know
you, and asked if I would introduce
him to you, if he should take
the liberty of calling to-morrow;
so I said I would. Was I right?'
'Of course. What kind of a
man is he?'
'A very RESPECTABLE man, I
think: but you will see him to-morrow.
He is the new vicar of F-, and
as he has only been there a few
weeks, I suppose he has made
no friends yet, and wants a little
The morrow came. What a fever
of anxiety and expectation I
was in from breakfast till noon
- at which time he made his appearance!
Having introduced him to my mother,
I took my work to the window,
and sat down to await the result
of the interview. They got on
extremely well together - greatly
to my satisfaction, for I had
felt very anxious about what
my mother would think of him.
He did not stay long that time:
but when he rose to take leave,
she said she should be happy
to see him, whenever he might
find it convenient to call again;
and when he was gone, I was gratified
by hearing her say, - 'Well!
I think he's a very sensible
man. But why did you sit back
there, Agnes,' she added, 'and
talk so little?'
'Because you talked so well,
mamma, I thought you required
no assistance from me: and, besides,
he was your visitor, not mine.'
After that, he often called
upon us - several times in the
course of a week. He generally
addressed most of his conversation
to my mother: and no wonder,
for she could converse. I almost
envied the unfettered, vigorous
fluency of her discourse, and
the strong sense evinced by everything
she said - and yet, I did not;
for, though I occasionally regretted
my own deficiencies for his sake,
it gave me very great pleasure
to sit and hear the two beings
I loved and honoured above every
one else in the world, discoursing
together so amicably, so wisely,
and so well. I was not always
silent, however; nor was I at
all neglected. I was quite as
much noticed as I would wish
to be: there was no lack of kind
words and kinder looks, no end
of delicate attentions, too fine
and subtle to be grasped by words,
and therefore indescribable -
but deeply felt at heart.
Ceremony was quickly dropped
between us: Mr. Weston came as
an expected guest, welcome at
all times, and never deranging
the economy of our household
affairs. He even called me 'Agnes:'
the name had been timidly spoken
at first, but, finding it gave
no offence in any quarter, he
seemed greatly to prefer that
appellation to 'Miss Grey;' and
so did I. How tedious and gloomy
were those days in which he did
not come! And yet not miserable;
for I had still the remembrance
of the last visit and the hope
of the next to cheer me. But
when two or three days passed
without my seeing him, I certainly
felt very anxious - absurdly,
unreasonably so; for, of course,
he had his own business and the
affairs of his parish to attend
to. And I dreaded the close of
the holidays, when MY business
also would begin, and I should
be sometimes unable to see him,
and sometimes - when my mother
was in the schoolroom - obliged
to be with him alone: a position
I did not at all desire, in the
house; though to meet him out
of doors, and walk beside him,
had proved by no means disagreeable.
One evening, however, in the
last week of the vacation, he
arrived - unexpectedly: for a
heavy and protracted thunder-shower
during the afternoon had almost
destroyed my hopes of seeing
him that day; but now the storm
was over, and the sun was shining
'A beautiful evening, Mrs.
Grey!' said he, as he entered.
'Agnes, I want you to take a
walk with me to - ' (he named
a certain part of the coast -
a bold hill on the land side,
and towards the sea a steep precipice,
from the summit of which a glorious
view is to be had). 'The rain
has laid the dust, and cooled
and cleared the air, and the
prospect will be magnificent.
Will you come?'
'Can I go, mamma?'
'Yes; to be sure.'
I went to get ready, and was
down again in a few minutes;
though, of course, I took a little
more pains with my attire than
if I had merely been going out
on some shopping expedition alone.
The thunder-shower had certainly
had a most beneficial effect
upon the weather, and the evening
was most delightful. Mr. Weston
would have me to take his arm;
he said little during our passage
through the crowded streets,
but walked very fast, and appeared
grave and abstracted. I wondered
what was the matter, and felt
an indefinite dread that something
unpleasant was on his mind; and
vague surmises, concerning what
it might be, troubled me not
a little, and made me grave and
silent enough. But these fantasies
vanished upon reaching the quiet
outskirts of the town; for as
soon as we came within sight
of the venerable old church,
and the - hill, with the deep
blue beyond it, I found my companion
was cheerful enough.
'I'm afraid I've been walking
too fast for you, Agnes,' said
he: 'in my impatience to be rid
of the town, I forgot to consult
your convenience; but now we'll
walk as slowly as you please.
I see, by those light clouds
in the west, there will be a
brilliant sunset, and we shall
be in time to witness its effect
upon the sea, at the most moderate
rate of progression.'
When we had got about half-way
up the hill, we fell into silence
again; which, as usual, he was
the first to break.
'My house is desolate yet,
Miss Grey,' he smilingly observed,
'and I am acquainted now with
all the ladies in my parish,
and several in this town too;
and many others I know by sight
and by report; but not one of
them will suit me for a companion;
in fact, there is only one person
in the world that will: and that
is yourself; and I want to know
'Are you in earnest, Mr. Weston?'
'In earnest! How could you
think I should jest on such a
He laid his hand on mine, that
rested on his arm: he must have
felt it tremble - but it was
no great matter now.
'I hope I have not been too
precipitate,' he said, in a serious
tone. 'You must have known that
it was not my way to flatter
and talk soft nonsense, or even
to speak the admiration that
I felt; and that a single word
or glance of mine meant more
than the honied phrases and fervent
protestations of most other men.'
I said something about not
liking to leave my mother, and
doing nothing without her consent.
'I settled everything with
Mrs. Grey, while you were putting
on your bonnet,' replied he.
'She said I might have her consent,
if I could obtain yours; and
I asked her, in case I should
be so happy, to come and live
with us - for I was sure you
would like it better. But she
refused, saying she could now
afford to employ an assistant,
and would continue the school
till she could purchase an annuity
sufficient to maintain her in
comfortable lodgings; and, meantime,
she would spend her vacations
alternately with us and your
sister, and should be quite contented
if you were happy. And so now
I have overruled your objections
on her account. Have you any
'No - none.'
'You love me then?' said be,
fervently pressing my hand.
Here I pause. My Diary, from
which I have compiled these pages,
goes but little further. I could
go on for years, but I will content
myself with adding, that I shall
never forget that glorious summer
evening, and always remember
with delight that steep hill,
and the edge of the precipice
where we stood together, watching
the splendid sunset mirrored
in the restless world of waters
at our feet - with hearts filled
with gratitude to heaven, and
happiness, and love - almost
too full for speech.
A few weeks after that, when
my mother had supplied herself
with an assistant, I became the
wife of Edward Weston; and never
have found cause to repent it,
and am certain that I never shall.
We have had trials, and we know
that we must have them again;
but we bear them well together,
and endeavour to fortify ourselves
and each other against the final
separation - that greatest of
all afflictions to the survivor.
But, if we keep in mind the glorious
heaven beyond, where both may
meet again, and sin and sorrow
are unknown, surely that too
may be borne; and, meantime,
we endeavour to live to the glory
of Him who has scattered so many
blessings in our path.
Edward, by his strenuous exertions,
has worked surprising reforms
in his parish, and is esteemed
and loved by its inhabitants
- as he deserves; for whatever
his faults may be as a man (and
no one is entirely without),
I defy anybody to blame him as
a pastor, a husband, or a father.
Our children, Edward, Agnes,
and little Mary, promise well;
their education, for the time
being, is chiefly committed to
me; and they shall want no good
thing that a mother's care can
give. Our modest income is amply
sufficient for our requirements:
and by practising the economy
we learnt in harder times, and
never attempting to imitate our
richer neighbours, we manage
not only to enjoy comfort and
contentment ourselves, but to
have every year something to
lay by for our children, and
something to give to those who
And now I think I have said