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with great reluctance, to consent to what she proposed, regarding it only as a temporary measure.
The first day's experience of Jessie under the roof of Mrs. Freeman is known to the reader. It was a painful experience, but she bore it in the right spirit. After that, she was careful to confine herself to the part of the house assigned her as a servant and inferior, and never ventured upon the least familiarity with any one. Her duty to the children who were committed to her charge was faithfully performed, and she received, regularly, her wages, according to contract, and there the relation between her and this family ceased. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, did Jessie Hampton, uncheered by an approving smile or friendly word, discharge her duties. But she had within, to sustain her, a consciousness that she was doing right, and a firm trust in an all-wise and merciful Providence.
Mrs. Carlton remained her steady friend, and Jessie spent an evening at her house almost every week, and frequently met there many of her old acquaintances. Of her treatment in the house of Mrs. reeman she never spoke, and when questioned on the subject avoided giving a direct answer.
Mr. Hartman's struggle proved to be a hard one. Harassed by claims that he could not pay off at once, his credit almost entirely gone, and the capital upon which he was doing business limited to a few score pounds, he found it almost impossible to make any headway. In a year from the time Jessie had relieved him from the burden of her support, so far from being encouraged by the result of his efforts, he felt like abandoning all as hopeless. There are always those who are ready to give small credits to a man whom they believe to be honest, even though once unfortunate in business ; but for such favours Mr. Hartman could not have kept up thus far. Now the difficulty was to pay the few notes given as they became due.
A note of 1001. was to fall due on the next day, and Mr. Hartman found himself with but 201. to meet it. The firm from which he had bought the goods for which the note was given had trusted him when others refused credit to the amount of a single pound, and had it in their power to forward his interests very greatly if he was punctual in his payments. It was the first bill of goods they had sold him, and Hartman could not go to them for assistance in taking up the note, for th would effectually cut off all hope of further credit. He could not borrow, for there was no one to lend him money. There was a time when he could have borrowed thousands on his word; but now he knew that it would be folly to ask for even hundreds.
In a state of deep discouragement, he left his store in the evening and went home. After tea, while sitting alone, Jessie, who came to see him often, tapped at his door.
· Are you not well?' she asked, with much concern, as soon as the smile with which he greeted her faded from his face, and she saw its drooping expression. • Yes, dear,' he replied, trying to arouse himself and appear
cheerful ; but the effort was in vain.
'Indeed, uncle, you are not well,' remarked Jessie, breaking in upon a longer period of silent abstraction into which Mr. Hartman had fallen, after in vain trying to converse cheerfully with his niece.
'I am well enough in body, Jessie; but my mind is a little anxious just now,' he replied.
Isn't your business going on as well as you expected?' inquired the affectionate girl.
I am sorry to say that it is not,' returned Mr. Hartman. 'In fact, I see but little hope of succeeding. I have no capital, and the little credit I possess is likely to be destroyed through my inability to sustain it. I certainly did anticipate a better reward for my efforts, and am the more disappointed at this result. To think that, for the want of 607. or 70%., the struggle of a whole year must prove in vain! As yet, even that small sum I cannot command.'
The face of Jessie flushed instantly, as her uncle uttered the last two
'And will so small an amount as 607, or 701. save you from what you fear?' she asked, in a trembling voice.
'Yes, even so small an amount as that.
But the sum might as well
be thousands. I cannot command it.'
'You can, uncle!' replied Jessie, with a glow of exultation on her cheek, and a spirit of joy in her voice. I have the money. Oh! it is the happiest hour of my life!'
And sinking forward, she laid her now weeping face upon the breast of her uncle. Her tears were the outgushing waters of gladness.
'You have the money, child?' said Mr. Hartman, after the lapse of a few moments. Where did you get it?'
'I have had no need to spend my salary.'
'Your salary! Have you saved it all?'
Every pound. I had clothing sufficient, and there was no other want to take it from me. Dear uncle, how happy it makes me to think that I have it in my power to aid you! Would that the sum was tens of thousands!'
Mr. Hartman, as soon as the first surprise was over, said, with evident emotion
'Jessie, I cannot express how much this incident has affected me. But, deeply grateful to you as I feel for such an evidence of your love, I must push back the hand that would force this aid upon me. I will not be unjust to you. I will not take your hard earnings to run the risk of losing them.'
A shadow passed over the face of Jessie, and her voice was touched with something like grief as she replied
How can you speak to me thus, uncle? How can you push back my hand when, in love, it seeks to smooth the pillow upon which your troubled head is resting? Would you deny me a higher gratification than I have ever known? No-no-you cannot !'
Mr. Hartman was bewildered. He felt as if it would be a kind of sacrilege to take the money of his niece, yet how could he positively refuse to do so? Apart from the necessity of his circumstances, there
was the cruelty of doing violence to the generous love that had so freely tendered relief. In the end, all objections had to yield, and Mr. Hartman was saved from a second disaster, which would have entirely prostrated him, by the money that Jessie had earned and saved.
A short time after the occurrence of this circumstance, the Freemans gave a large party. Mrs. Carlton, who was present, said to Mrs. Freeman, an hour after the company had assembled
• Where is Miss Hampton I've been looking for her all the evening. Isn't she well?
What Miss Hampton do you mean?' asked Mrs. Freeman, drawing herself up with an air cold and dignified.
• Miss Jessie Hampton,' replied Mrs. Carlton.
Sure enough!' said a young man, who was sitting by, and who had been attentive to Fanny Freeman; where is Miss Hampton? I haven't seen her for a long time. What can have become of her? Is she dead, or is she married ?”
“Her uncle, I suppose you know, failed in business, and has become poor,' replied Mrs Carlton.
• True. I was perfectly aware of that, but didn't reflect that poverty was a social crime. And is it possible that so lovely a girl as Jessie Hampton has been excluded from the circle she so graced with her presence, because of this change in her uncle's circumstances ? '
• It is true to a very great extent, Mr. Edgar,' returned Mrs. Carlton, though I am glad to say that there are a few who can appreciate the real gold of her character, and who love her as truly and esteem her as highly as ever they did.'
A worthy few, and if I were only so fortunate as to fall in company with her, I would be one of the number. Is she here to-night?'
The young man looked at Mrs. Freeman, and became aware, from the expression of her face, that the subject was disagreeable to her. With easy politeness he changed the theme of conversation; but as soon as opportunity offered, sought out Mrs. Carlton, and asked a question or two more about Jessie.
• What has become of Miss Hampton? I should really like to know,' he said.
Mrs. Carlton could only reply direct, and she answered,
• Indeed! I have been visiting here, off and on, for a twelvemonth, but have neither seen her nor heard her name mentioned. Are you sure?'
• Oh, yes. I procured her the situation more than a year ago, and see her almost every week.'
• This being the case, and it also being plain that her worth is not. appreciated here, our remarks a little while ago could not have been very pleasant to the ears of Mrs. Freeman.'
• I presume not,' was returned.
The young man became thoughtful, and, in a little while, withdrew from the crowded rooms and left the house. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, and had recently come into his father's business as
a partner. It was to the firm of Edgar and Son that the note of Mr. Hartman, which Jessie had aided him to take up, had been due.
On the day succeeding the party at Mrs. Freeman's, Mr. Hartman came in to purchase some goods, and, after selecting them, asked if he could have the usual credit.
Certainly,' replied old Mr. Edgar; and to double the amount of the bill.'
Hartman thanked the merchant, and retired.
"You know the 1007. note that he paid last week?' said Mr. Edgar, speaking to his son, and alluding to Hartman, who had just left.
Well, I heard something about that note this morning that really touched my feelings. Hartman spoke of the circumstances to a friend, and that friend-betraying, I think, the confidence reposed in him-related it to me, not knowing that we were the parties to which the note had been paid. On that note he was near failing again.'
'Indeed! And yet you have just sold to him freely.'
"I have. But such are my feelings that I would risk 1,000l. to keep him up. I know him to be a man of strict honesty.'
There is no doubt of that,' replied the son.
You remember his niece, I suppose?' said old Mr. Edgar. 'Oh, very well.'
'When Mr. Hartman's circumstances became reduced, she, of her own free choice, relieved him of the burden of her support, and assumed the arduous and toilsome duties of a governess in one of our wealthy families, where she has ever since been. On the evening before the note of which I spoke was due, she called to see her uncle, and found him in trouble. For some time he concealed the cause, but so earnest was she in her affectionate entreaties to know why he was unhappy, that he told her the reason. He was again embarrassed in his business, and, for want of a few pounds, which one circumstanced as he was could not borrow, was in danger of being again broken up. To his astonishment, Jessie announced the fact that she had the sum he wanted, saved from her salary as governess. He at first refused to take it, but she would listen to no denial.'
'Noble girl!' exclaimed the young man.
'She must be one in a thousand,' said Mr. Edgar.
She is one in ten thousand!' replied the son, enthusiastically. 'And yet worth like hers is passed over for the tinsel of wealth. Do you know in whose family she is governess?'
'I do not.'
'I can tell you. She is in the family of Mr. Freeman.'
'Yes. You know they gave a party last night?'
'Miss Hampton was not present.'
'As much as might have been inferred.'
'And yet there was no young lady in the room her equal in all that goes to make up the character of a lovely woman.'
'Well, my son,' replied the old gentleman, all I have to say is, that I look upon this young lady as possessing excellences of character far outweighing all the endowments of wealth. Money! It may take to itself wings in a day; but virtue like hers is as abiding as eternity. If your heart is not otherwise interested, and you feel so inclined, win her if you can. Another like her may never cross your path. With such a woman as your wife, you need not tremble at the word adversity.'
The young man did not reply. What his thoughts were, his actions subsequently attested.
After the party, to the distant coldness with which Mrs. Freeman had treated Jessie since she came into her house, were added certain signs of dislike, quickly perceived by the maiden. In addressing her Mrs. Freeman exhibited, at times, a superciliousness that was particularly offensive. But Jessie checked the indignant feelings that arose in her bosom, and, in conscious rectitude of character, went on faithfully discharging her duties. Since the timely aid she had been able to bring her uncle, she had a new motive for effort, and went through her daily task with a more cheerful spirit.
One day, about six months after the occurrence of the party which has been mentioned, Jessie, a little to the surprise of Mrs. Freeman, gave that lady notice that, at a certain time not far off, she would terminate her engagement with her. The only reason she gave was, that the necessity which took her from home no longer remained. At the time mentioned, Jessie left, although Mrs. Freeman, urged by other members of the family, who could better appreciate the young lady's worth, offered a considerable increase of salary as an inducement to remain.
'What do you think?' exclaimed Fanny, about three weeks subsequently, throwing open the parlour door, where the family had assembled just before tea. 'Jessie Hampton's married!'
'What!' ejaculated Mrs. Freeman. Married?'
Oh, yes, sure enough,' said Mr. Freeman. I heard of it a little while before I left my counting-house. And more surprising still, she is married to young Edgar.'
'Oh, no!' responded Mrs. Freeman, incredulously. It's some mistake. Never! It cannot be."
Oh but it is a fact, mother,' said Fanny, with ill-concealed chagrin. 'Lizzy Martin was her bridesmaid. They were married at Mrs. Carlton's this morning, and the whole bridal party has gone off to Saratoga.'
'He's got a good wife,' remarked the brother of Mrs. Freeman, in his quiet way. I always liked that young man, and like him better than ever now. I knew he was a fellow of good sense; but he has showed himself to possess more of that sterling material than I thought.'
Mr. Freeman also gave his opinion, and in doing so, expressed himself pretty freely in regard to the treatment Jessie had received while in the house. As for his wife, when the truth assumed an