pleasing—a picture in which sweetness of tint, purity of air, and grace of mien, atoned for the absence of rich colouring and magnificent contour. What her brown eye and clear forehead showed of her mind was in keeping with her dress and face—modest, gentle, and, though pensive, harmonious. It appeared that neither lamb nor dove need fear her, but would welcome, rather, in her look of simplicity and softness, a sympathy with their own natures, or with the natures we ascribe to them.

After all, she was an imperfect, faulty human being, fair enough of form, hue, and array; but, as Cyril Hall said, neither so good nor so great as the withered Miss Ainley, now putting on her best black gown and Quaker-drab shawl and bonnet in her own narrow cottage-chamber.

Away Caroline went, across some very sequestered fields and through some quite hidden lanes, to Field-head. She glided quickly under the green hedges and across the greener leas. There was no dust, no moisture, to soil the hem of her stainless garment, or to damp her slender sandal—after the late rains all was clean, and under the present glowing sun all was dry. She walked fearlessly, then, on daisy and turf and through thick plantations; she reached Fieldhead and penetrated to Miss Keeldar’s dressing-room. It was well she had come, or Shirley would have been too late. Instead of making ready with all speed, she lay stretched on a couch, absorbed in reading. Mrs. Pryor stood near, vainly urging her to rise and dress. Caroline wasted no words; she immediately took the book from her, and with her own hands commenced the business of disrobing and re-robing her. Shirley, indolent with the heat, and gay with her youth and pleasurable nature, wanted to talk, laugh, and linger; but Caroline, intent on being in time, persevered in dressing her as fast as fingers could fasten strings or insert pins. At length, as she united a final row of hooks and eyes, she found leisure to chide her, saying she was very naughty to be so unpunctual; that she looked even now the picture of incorrigible carelessness. And so Shirley did, but a very lovely picture of that tiresome quality.

She presented quite a contrast to Caroline: there was style in every fold of her dress and every line of her figure; the rich silk suited her better than a simpler costume; the deep embroidered scarf became her; she wore it negligently, but gracefully; the wreath on her bonnet crowned her well; the attention to fashion, the tasteful appliance of ornament in each portion of her dress, were quite in place with her; all this suited her, like the frank light in her eyes, the rallying smile about her lips, like her shaft-straight carriage and lightsome step. Caroline took her hand when she was dressed, hurried her downstairs, out of doors, and thus they sped through the fields, laughing as they went, and looking very much like a snow-white dove and gem-tinted bird-of-paradise joined in social flight.

Thanks to Miss Helstone’s promptitude, they arrived in good time. While yet trees hid the church, they heard the bell tolling a measured but urgent summons for all to assemble; the trooping in of numbers, the trampling of many steps, and murmuring of many voices were likewise audible. From a rising ground they presently saw, on the Whinbury road, the Whinbury school approaching; it numbered five hundred souls. The Rector and curate, Boultby and Donne, headed it, the former, looming large in full canonicals, walking, as became a beneficed priest, under the canopy of a shovel-hat, with the dignity of an ample corporation, the embellishment of the squarest and vastest of black coats, and the support of the stoutest of gold-headed canes. As the Doctor walked, he now and then slightly flourished his cane, and inclined his shovel-hat with a dogmatical wag towards his aide-de-camp. That aide-de-camp—Donne, to wit—narrow as the line of his shape was compared to the broad bulk of his principal, contrived, notwithstanding, to look every inch a curate: all about him was pragmatical and self-complacent, from his turned-up nose and elevated chin to his clerical black gaiters, his somewhat short, strapless trousers, and his square- toed shoes.

Walk on, Mr. Donne! You have undergone scrutiny. You think you look well—whether the white and purple figures watching you from yonder hill think so, is another question.

These figures come running down when the regiment has marched by; the churchyard is full of children and teachers, all in their very best holiday attire, and, distressed as is the district, bad as are the times, it is wonderful to see how respectably—how handsomely even—they have contrived to clothe themselves.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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