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قراءة كتاب Isabel Leicester A Romance by Maude Alma

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‏اللغة: English
Isabel Leicester
A Romance by Maude Alma

Isabel Leicester A Romance by Maude Alma

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1







"Twist ye, twine ye, even so,

Mingled threads of joy and woe,

Hope and fear, peace and strife,

In the cord of human life."





In a spacious apartment superbly furnished, and surrounded by every luxury that could please the most fastidious taste, sat Isabel Leicester, attired in deep mourning, with her head resting upon her hand, her face almost as white as the handkerchief she held. Isabel's Father had failed in business, and the misfortune had so preyed upon his mind, that he sank under it and died. The funeral had taken place that day, and she was to leave the house on the day following—the house where she was born and had always lived, except when at school. The servants had all been discharged but two, who were to leave next day. A friend had offered Isabel a home until she could procure a situation as a governess, which that friend Mrs. Arnold was endeavouring to obtain for her, in the family of a lady who had been one of Mrs. Arnold's school-fellows. Mrs. Arnold was the widow of a clergyman, with a very limited income, and Isabel was unwilling to trespass upon the kindness of one whose means she knew to be so small. But she had no alternative at the time and trusted that it would not be long before she would be able to procure the situation she had in view, or some other. The tea remained untasted on the table, for Isabel was absorbed by the melancholy thoughts that filled her heart. She tried to feel resigned, but her pride was wounded at the idea of becoming a 'governess.' She had been the spoiled petted daughter of a wealthy merchant of the city of New York, whose chief delight had been to indulge her in every way. But still Mr. Leicester had been a truly good and christian man, and had taught his daughter not to set her affections on earthly things, and to remember that wealth was given to us for the benefit of others, as well as for our own enjoyment. And he was rewarded as she grew up to find that her chief aim was to do good to the many poor families whose necessities came to her knowledge. Great also was his satisfaction to find that after two seasons in New York, where she had been the Belle, she was still the same loving, unassuming, pure-minded girl she had ever been, tho' the admiration and attention her beauty and accomplishments had excited, had she been less carefully trained, might have rendered her haughty and vain.

During her Father's illness, when her time and thoughts were occupied with attending upon him, and in anxiety for his recovery she had thought and felt that the loss of property was an evil of little moment, and tried to persuade her Father not to think so much about the reverse, urging that he could get some employment, and they would still live very happily together in a cottage.

But now that he was gone, and she had no one left to look too, her lonely and self-dependant position was felt severely, and the tears she could not restrain, fell unheeded. The fire sank low, and finally went out, and still Isabel sat thinking of the miserable prospect the future presented. At last she rose with a shudder, and rang for the tea-things to be removed, then retiring to her own room, she threw herself upon the bed in an agony of grief.

She had remained there some time, when she felt a kind hand laid upon her shoulder, and turning her head she saw the old housekeeper, Mrs. Stewart, with a cup of hot tea. "Come my dear young lady," said she, while the tears streamed down her aged cheeks, "You must take this, it will never do for you to go without your tea."

"I know you attach great virtue to a cup of tea" replied Isabel, "so to please you I will take it."

"Oh dear, dear," muttered the old woman as she descended the stairs, "how pale and ill she looks, and no wonder poor lamb, if she goes on like this she will be laid up. Oh, how I wish Mrs. Mornington had not gone to Europe. Poor child, poor child."

After Mrs. Stewart had left her, Isabel knelt down and prayed for strength to do her duty, however trying she might find it, and for the holy spirit to comfort her in affliction, after which she retired to rest, and was soon in a calm sleep.

Next morning she arose much refreshed, and having sought divine aid and protection, she commenced to arrange for her departure. Her Father's creditors knowing him to be a man of strict integrity, and that his failure was not attributable to any want of prudence on his part, had kindly arranged that she should retain whatever she particularly wished. This was a great gratification to Isabel, tho' she was too honorable to take an undue advantage of this benevolent intention, indeed she was almost too conscientious upon this point.

The task before her was a sad one, and although she strove very hard she could not restrain her tears as she made her selections. She was soon joined by Mrs. Arnold, who told her she had come to help her to pack, and that she should not leave until Isabel accompanied her. "Come" she said, kissing her affectionately, "the sooner this painful task is over my love the better. I have good news for you. I have heard from Mrs. Arlington, and she says that she shall be most happy to obtain the services of any one recommended by me. The salary I find is only two hundred dollars a year, it is indeed less than I expected, but you must remember that this is your first engagement, no doubt if you remain there a year or two, you will be able to obtain a much more remunerative one."

This announcement of Mrs. Arnold's brought to Isabel's mind in full force all the annoyances to which she would be subjected in her new position, and clasping her hands, she gave way to uncontrollable emotion.

"I do not wonder, dear, at your being disappointed, after what you have been used to, two hundred dollars must seem a very paltry sum. I dare say you gave nearly as much to your maid Harris, but my dear, as a governess your requirements will be less, so with the wardrobe you now possess, you will be able to manage very nicely."

"Oh, Mrs. Arnold, I was not thinking about the salary, I am sure I can make that do very well," sobbed Isabel. "You are very kind indeed to trouble yourself so much about me."

"You need not go to Elm Grove at present, my love, you are quite welcome to stay with me until you get over your loss a little, and feel better able to conform to circumstances," said Mrs. Arnold kindly.

Isabel made an effort to respond gratefully to her kind friend, and expressed a hope that she would shortly be able to undertake the duties of her new situation.

"I have no doubt you will be very comfortable at Elm Grove, it is a lovely place. Of course it will seem strange at first, but people soon get used to a place you know if they only try. I am very happy now, but I am sure at one time, I thought I never should be again," continued Mrs. Arnold, "but we will say no more on that subject now, we must get on with our work." And she began to give advice about what Isabel should take, and said that whatever she did not like to take with her to her new home, she could leave at her house.