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Mrs. Hoxton say it is all for your sake;' then, nettled by Mar garet's laugh, such a nice occupation for her, poor thing, as if you were Mrs. Hoxton, and had no resource but fancy-work.

* You know I am base enough to be so amused,” said Margaret; "but, seriously, Ethel dear, I cannot bear to see you so much hurt by it. I did not know you were really grieved.''

«Grieved! I am ashamed—sickened !' cried Ethel, vehemently. Poor Cocksmoor! As soon as anything is done there, Flora must needs

go about implying that we have set some grand work in hand, and want only means

'Stop, Ethel; Flora does not boast.'

No, she does not boast. I wish she did ! That would be straightforward and simple; but she has too good taste for that, so she does worse—she tells a little, and makes that go a long way, as if she were keeping back a great deal! You don't know how furious it makes me!'

Ethel !' ' "So,' said Ethel, disregarding, she stirs up all Stoneborough to hear what the Miss Mays are doing at Cocksmoor. So the Ladies' Committee must needs have their finger in! Much they cared for the place when it was wild and neglected! But they go to inspect Cherry and her school-Mrs. Ledwich and all—and, back they come, shocked—no system, no order, the mistress untrained, the school too small, with no apparatus ! They all run about in despair, as if we had ever asked them to help us. Mrs. Hoxton, who cares for poor children no more than for puppydogs, but who can't live without useless work, and has filled her house as full of it as it can hold, devises a bazaar—a field for her trumpery, and a show-off for all the young ladies; and Flora treats it like an inspiration! Of they trot, to the old Assembly Rooms. I trusted that the smallness of them would have knocked it on the head; but, still worse, Flora's talking of it makes Mr. Rivers think it our pet scheme; so, what does he do but offer his park, and so we are to have a regular fancy fair, and Cocksmoor school will be founded in vanity and frivolity! But, I believe you like it!'

'I am not sure of my own feeling,' said Margaret. It has been settled without our interposition, and I have never been able to talk it over calmly with you. Papa does not seem to disapprove.

No,' said Ethel. He will only laugh, and say it will spare him a great many of Mrs. Hoxton's nervous attacks. He thinks of it nearly as I do, at the bottom, but I cannot get him to stop it, nor even to


he does not wish Flora to sell.' "I did not understand that you really had such strong objections,' said Margaret. 'I thought it was only as a piece of folly, anda

And so



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' And interference with my Cocksmoor ?' said Ethel. I had better own to what may be wrong personal feeling at first.'

"I can hardly call it wrong,' said Margaret, tenderly, "con sidering what Cocksmoor is to you, and what the Ladies' Committee is.'

*Oh! Margaret, if the lawful authority—if a good Clergyman would only come, how willingly would I work under him. But Mrs. Ledwich and—it is like having all the Spaniards and savages spoiling Robinson Crusoe's desert island !'

'It is not come to that yet, said Margaret; 'but, about the Fancy Fair. We all know that the school is very much wanted.'

Yes, but I hoped to wait in patience and perseverance, and do it at last.'

*All yourself ?'

Now, Margaret ! you know I was glad of Alan's help.

'I should think so !' said Margaret. “You need not make a favour of that!'

Yes, but, don't you see, that came as almsgiving, in the way which brings a blessing. We want nothing to make us give money and work to Cocksmoor. We do all we can already; and I don't want to get a fine bag or a ridiculous pincushion in exchange!'

Not you, but-
Well, for the rest. If they like to offer their money,

well and good, the better for them; but why must they not give it to Cocksmoor—but for that unnatural butterfly of Blanche's with black pins for horns, that they will go and sell at an extortionate rate.'

' The price will be given for Cocksmoor's sake!'

'Pooh! Margaret. Do you think it is for Cocksmoor's sake that Lady Leonora Langdale and her fine daughter come down from London ? Would Mrs. Hoxton spend the time in making frocks for Cocksmoor children that she does in cutting out paper, and stuffing glass bottles with it? Let people be honest—alms, or pleasure, or vanity ! let them say which they mean; but don't make charity the excuse for the others; and, above all, don't make my poor Cocksmoor the victim of it.'

* This is very severe,' said Margaret, pausing, almost confounded. Do you think no charity worth having but what is given on unmixed motives ? Who, then, could give ??

Margaret-we see much evil arise in the best-planned institutions; nay, in what are not human. Don't you think we ought to do our utmost to have no flaw in the foundation ? Schools are not such perfect places that we can build them without fear, and, if the means are to be raised by a bargain for amusement—if they are to come from frivolity instead of self-denial, I am afraid of them. I do not mean that Cocksmoor has not been the joy of my life, and of Mary's, but that was not because we did it for pleasure.'

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"No!' said Margaret, sighing, 'you found pleasure by the way But why did you not say all this to Flora.'

'It is of no use to talk to Flora,' said Ethel; "she would say it was high-flown and visionary. Oh! she wants it for the bazaar's own sake, and that is one reason why I hate it.'

Now, Ethel !'

'I do believe it was very unfortunate for Flora that the Hoxtons took to patronizing her, because Norman would not be patron. ized. Ever since it began, her mind has been full of visitings, and parties, and county families, and she has left off the home usefulness she used to care about.'

But you are old enough for that,' said Margaret. "It would be hard to keep Flora at home, now that you can take her place, and do not care for going out. One of us must be the representative Miss May, you know, and keep up the civilities; and you may think yourself lucky it is not you.'

• If it was only that, I should not care, but I may as well tell you, Margaret, for it is a weight to me. It is not the mere pleasure in gaieties—Flora cares for them, in themselves, as little as I do—nor is it neighbourliness, as a duty to others, for, you may observe, she always gets off any engagement to the Wards, or any of the town folk, to whom it would be a gratification to have her she either eludes them, or sends me. The thing is, that she is always trying to be with the great people, the county set, and I don't think that is the safe way of going on.'

Margaret mused sadly. You frighten me, Ethel! I cannot say it is not so, and these are so like the latent faults that dear mamma's letter spoke of

Ethel sat meditating, and, at last, said, 'I wish I had not told you! I don't always believe it myself, and it is so unkind, and you will make yourself unhappy too. I ought not to have thought it of her! Think of her ever ready kindness and helpfulness her pretty courteous ways to the very least; her obligingness and tact !'

“Yes,' said Margaret,' she is one of the kindest people there is, and I am sure that she thought the gaining funds for Cocksmoor, was the best thing to be done, that you would be pleased, and a great deal of pleasant occupation provided for us all.'

That is the bright side, the surface side,' said Ethel.

“And not an untrue one,' said Margaret; ‘Meta will not be vain, and will work the more happily for Cocksmoor's sake. Mary and Blanche, poor Mrs. Boulder, and many good ladies who hitherto have not known how to help Cocksmoor, will do so now with a good will, and though it is not what we should have chosen I think we bad better take it in good part.'

"You think so ?'
Yes, indeed I do. If you go about with that dismal face and

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strong disapproval, it will really seem as if it was the having your dominion meddled with that you dislike. Besides, it is putting yourself forward to censure what is not absolutely wrong in itself and that cannot be desirable.'

"No,' said Ethel, ' but I cannot help being sorry for Cocksmoor. I thought patience would prepare the way, and the means be granted in good time, without hastiness—only earnestness.'

You had made a picture for yourself,' said Margaret, gently 'Yes, we all make pictures for ourselves, and we are the foremost figures in them; but they are taken out of our hands, and we see others putting in rude touches, and spoiling our work, as it.seems, but, by-and-by, we shall see that it is all guided.'

Ethel sighed. “Then having protested to my utmost against this concern, you think I ought to be amiable about it.'

. And to let poor Mary enjoy it. She would be so happy, if you would not bewilder her by your gloomy looks, and keep her to the hemming of your endless glazed calico bonnet strings.'

Poor old Mary! I thought that was by her own desire.

Only her dutiful allegiance to you; and, as making pincushions is nearly her greatest delight, it is cruel to make her think it, in some mysterious way, wrong and displeasing to you.'

Ethel laughed, and said, "I did not think Mary was in such awe of me. I'll set her free, then. But, Margaret, do you really think I ought to give up my time to it?'

Could you not just let them have a few drawings, or a little bit of your company work—just enough for you not to annoy everyone, and seem to be testifying against them. You would not like to vex Meta.'

• It will go hard, if I do not tell Meta my mind. I cannot bear to see her deluded.'

'I don't think she is,' said Margaret; 'but she does not set her face against what others wish. As papa says of his dear little humming-bird, she takes the honey, and leaves the poison.'

Yes; amid all that enjoyment, she is always choosing the good, and leaving the evil; always sacrificing something, and then being happy in the sacrifice!'

No one would guess it was a sacrifice, it is so joyously done least of all Meta herself.'

· Her coming home from London was exactly a specimen of that sacrifice—and no sacrifice,' said Ethel.

What was that ?' said Norman, who had come up to the window unobserved, and had been listening to their few last sentences.

• Did not you hear of it? It was a sort of material turning away from vanity that made me respect the little rival Daisy, as much as I always admired her.

• Tell me,' said Norman. "When was it?'

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· Last spring. You know Mr. Rivers is always ill in London : indeed, papa says it would be the death of him; but Lady Leonora Langdale thinks it dreadful that Meta should not go to all the gaieties; and, last year, when Mrs. Larpent was gone, she insisted on her coming to stay with her for the season. Now, Meta thought it

wrong to leave her father alone, and wanted not to have gone at all, but, to my surprise, Margaret advised her to yield, and go foi some short fixed time.'

“Yes,' said Vargaret; ' as all her elders thought it right, I did not think we could advise her to refuse absolutely. Besides, it was a promise.'

She declared she would only stay three weeks, and the Langdales were satisfied, thinking that, once in London, they should keep her. They little knew Meta, with her pretty ways of pretending that her resolution is only spoilt-child wilfulness. None of you quite trusted her, did you, Margaret? Even papa was almost afraid, though he wanted her very much to be at home; for poor Mr. Rivers was so low and forlorn without her, though he would not let her know, because Lady Leonora had persuaded him to think it was all for her good.'

• What did they do with her in London ?' asked Norman.

• They did their utmost,' said Ethel. "They made engagements for her, and took her to parties and concerts—those she did enjoy very much-and she had lessons in drawing and music, but whenever she wanted to see any exhibitions, or do anything, they always said there was time to spare. I believe it was very charming, and she would have been very glad to stay, but she never would promise, and she was always thinking of her positive duty at home. She seemed afterwards to think of her wishes to remain almost as if they had been a sin; but she said—dear little Meta—that nothing had ever helped her so much as that she used to say to herself, whenever she was going out, “I renounce the world." It came to a crisis at last, when Lady Leonora wanted her to be presented the drawing-room was after the end of her three weeks and she held out against it; though her aunt laughed at her, and treated her as if she was a silly, shy child. At last, what do you think Meta did ? She went to her uncle, Lord Cosham, and appealed to him to say whether there was the least necessity for her to go to court.

Then she gained the day ?' said Norman.

He was delighted with that spirited, yet coaxing way of hers, and admired her determination. He told

He told papa so himself-for you must know, when he heard all Meta had to say, he called her a very good girl, and said he would take her home himself on the Saturday she had fixed, and spend Sunday at Abbotstoke. Oh! he was perfectly won by her sweet ways. Was not it lucky? for before this Lady Leonora had written to Mr. Rivers, and obtained

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