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CHAPTER IX.

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES.

“But for the dwelling of the proud and poor,

From their own lips the world will never know
When better days are gone :-it is secure

Beyond all other mysteries here below."—HALLECK.

With a very narrow income, but with an unfailing energy, worthy of a better cause, Mrs. Lyndsay began her new mode of existence at Montiluna. The farm was beautifully situated, sloping on one side down to the river; with broad meadows on the other side, stretching back to the hills, whose forest-crowned summits formed a beautiful background.

But the pleasure which Mrs. Lyndsay experienced, at the first view of her future residence, was not derived from hill or meadow, river or forest; but was due entirely to the fact that it was a full half mile from the last, house in the village, and thus she fondly hoped she would be exempt from curious observation, in carrying out the schemes of economy which would be necessary to enable her to make a proper display on needful occasions.

Mr. Lyndsay had, with a servant, preceded the rest of the family, and had prepared, as well as he could, for their reception. A“country . tea” was spread out on the table in the kitchen, as the most habitable room-being unincumbered with the packing-cases so plentifully scattered over every other part of the house; and varied as were the feelings of the party, the curiously assorted meal was enjoyed by all.

Mr. Lyndsay was really glad to be at home again. For him the old kitchen was peopled, in every nook and corner, with old memories, that sat in familiar shapes in the high-backed chairs, peeped from the quaint corner cupboards, thronged round him in the twilight, and made the smoky rafters ring with echoes, heard by him alone, of long, silent laughter. Familiar voices sounded over the fields and through the

darkening windows; familiar steps trod the creaking floors; and by-gone dreams of happy boyhood returned in all their pristine beauty to bless the world-weary man.

And the dreams seemed rather realized than dispelled, when Julia drew a low bench to his side, and silently leaned her head on his arm.

She, too, was glad to be here at last. The suspense was over, and this was the refuge from the world that had so disappointed her imagination. The circle she had been introduced into was devoted solely to fashion and pleasure, and even in her lightest hours she had longed for something more. Now her mind was awakened by these changes of fortune, and their effect on her parents and associates. She began to think: life expanded before her: she felt as if cast alone and helpless into infinite space, with duties and objects to be sought and pursued; but she knew not how to seek them, and the solemn meaning of life oppressed her spirit with awe, terrible from its very vagueness .

Therefore she felt a relief in this emancipation from the city. The charm of fields and woods-was new to her, and seemed to breathe over her troubled heart spells of rest. One of her great troubles was, that her sister was no companion to her. Matilda's violent grief had given place to a sort of settled gloom; and instead of conforming to their present position, she seemed only to think of escaping from it.

The selections that Mrs. Lyndsay had brought with her, from the wreck of her former splendor, would have been unaccountable to any one who did not fully understand her reigning passion.

Two good sized rooms on one side of the hall were set apart as parlors. These were papered, painted, and adorned with the brilliant carpets, curtains and furniture from her former house. A few showy books and ornaments graced the unused centre-tables ; gilt girandoles held a few wax candles : everything was carefully arranged, and then the parlors were locked, and left alone in their glory.

A small set of superb cut glass, some old

wine, and sealed boxes of plum-cake, insured refreshments in keeping with the appearance of these rooms. Beyond these, Mrs. Lyndsay firmly resolved that no prying eyes should penetrate.

Julia soon found her time fully occupied. They had one servant—a hard-working German woman, accustomed to out-door labor and scanty fare, and who found housework, with abundant food, a life of comparative ease. She possessed one further recommendation—she knew little English, and had no desire to increase her knowledge by gossiping with her neighbors.

Mrs. Lyndsay began her housekeeping in serious earnest. Everything was strictly and exactly done. Nothing was wasted; and from the produce of the farm they had enough of food and fuel. But to persons who had lived in the city, many little luxuries had grown to positive necessaries, and the hardness and homeliness of all around them, became of itself a severe trial.

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