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   Chapter 37 No.37

The Good Time Coming By T. S. Arthur Characters: 4564

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05

WHEN the offer of Mr. Walker's cottage was made known in the family, there was a passive acquiescence in the change on the part of all but Aunt Grace. Her pride was aroused.

"It's very kind in Mr. Willet," she said-"very kind, but scarcely delicate under the circumstances."

"Why not delicate?" inquired Mr. Markland.

"Did they think we were going into that little pigeon-box, just under the shadow of Woodbine Lodge. If we have to come down so low, it will not be in this neighbourhood. There's too much pride in the Markland blood for that!"

"We have but little to do with pride now," said Mrs. Markland.

Her husband sighed. The remark of his sister had quickened his blood.

"It is the best we can do!" he remarked, sadly.

"Not by any means," said Grace. "There are other neighbourhoods than this, and other houses to be obtained. Let us go from here; not remain the observed of all curious observers-objects of remark and pity!"

Her brother arose while she was speaking, and commenced walking the room in a disturbed manner. The words of Grace had aroused his slumbering pride.

"Rather let us do what is best under the circumstances," said Mrs. Markland, in her quiet way. "People will have their own thoughts, but these should never turn us from a right course."

"The sight of Woodbine Lodge will rebuke me daily," said Mr. Markland.

"You cannot be happy in this neighbourhood." Grace spoke in her emphatic way. "It is impossible!"

"I fear that it is even so," replied her brother.

"Then," said Mrs. Markland, in a firm voice, "we will go hence. I place nothing against the happiness of my husband. If the sight of our old home is to trouble him daily, we will put mountains between, if necessary."

Markland turned toward his wife. She had never looked more beautiful in his eye.

"Is self-negation to be all on her part?" The thought, flashing through his mind, changed the current of his feelings, and gave him truer perceptions.

"No, Agnes," he said, while a faint smile played around his lips, "we will not put mountains between us and this neighbourhood. Pride is a poor counsellor, and they who take heed to her words, sow the seeds of repentance. In reverse of fortune, we stand not alone. Thousands have walked this rugged

road before us; and shall we falter, and look weakly back?"

"Not so, Edward!" returned his wife, with enthusiasm; "we will neither falter nor look back. Our good and evil are often made by contrasts. We shall not find the way rugged, unless we compare it too closely with other ways our feet have trodden, and sigh vainly over the past, instead of accepting the good that is awarded us in the present. Let us first make the 'rough paths of peevish nature even,' and the way will be smooth to our feet."

"You will never be happy in this neighbourhood, Edward," said his sister, sharply; for she saw that the pride her words had awakened was dying out.

"If he is not happy here, change of place will work no difference." Mrs. Markland spoke earnestly.

"Why not?" was the quick interrogation of Grace.

"Because happiness is rarely, if ever, produced by a change of external relations. We must have within us the elements of happiness; and then the heart's sunshine will lie across our threshold, whether it be of palace or cottage."

"Truer words were never spoken," said Mr. Markland, "and I feel their better meaning. No, Agnes, we will not go out from this pleasant neighbourhood, nor from among those we have proved to be friends. If Woodbine Lodge ever looks upon me rebukingly, I will try to acknowledge the justice of the rebuke. I will accept Mr. Willet's kind offer to-morrow. But what have you to say, Fanny?" Mr. Markland now turned to his daughter, who had not ventured a word on the subject, though she had listened with apparent interest to the conference. "Shall we take Mr. Walker's cottage?"

"Your judgment must decide that, father," was answered.

"But have you no choice in the case, Fanny? We can remove into the city, or go into some other neighbourhood."

"I will be as happy here as anywhere. Do as seems best, father."

A silence, made in a measure oppressive by Fanny's apparent indifference to all change, followed. Before other words were spoke, Aunt Grace withdrew in a manner that showed a mind disturbed. The conference in regard to the cottage was again resumed, and ended in the cheerful conclusion that it would afford them the pleasantest home, in their changed circumstances, of any that it was possible for them to procure.

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