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already decided, with the consent of her nephew, or rather, her nephew's guardians.
“He is a child,' said Annie; “what has he to do with it?'
'He represents his father, Miss Clune's eldest brother, who is dead, as you know. The legal consent of the heir-at-law is necessary, in cases such as this.'
Who are the trustees ?' asked Annie. Mr. Salterne and I.'
“How nice of her!' said the girl, more tearful than ever, while Mr. Marvin sat in astonished silence.
* Then there is no further difficulty about the church?' he asked at length.
“None. Mr. Salterne is ready—his lawyer told me—to give the site I suggested to him some time ago. The building may be begun directly; the funds are all in hand.'
"Your money?' asked Annie.
"I wish it were. But I am only to do half. Mr. Clune makes it a request that he may take a share in it, as a memorial to his sister.'
· And of course you could not say anything. I don't think you quite like the change, after all. Are you disappointed ?'
Annie was quick enough to notice the short depressed way in which Mr. Hatherly had told of the way in which his hopes were going to be realized at last.
‘Not disappointed,' he said ; 'it is better for me in many ways. Yet I think I had set my heart on doing it; I think I feel as if some definite work were taken out of my life. It makes my future too easy for
I am afraid. My part of the work will mean nothing more than writing a cheque for a certain amount; and you know we had settled that it was to mean a considerable sacrifice.'
It has been a sacrifice in a great measure,' said the Vicar; "the cheque that
you talk of so lightly has not been accumulated without self-denial.'. 'And you are such a fidgety thing about those little crotchets of yours,' laughed Annie, trying to rouse herself into something more cheerful for his sake. It did seem hard, she thought, that the very thing he had been so looking forward to should come in a way to make him feel it as much of a disappointment as a fulfilment of an anticipation. 'It is very strange when one comes to think of it,' she went on more brightly; but so many of the things one has wished for have come like this—in some great worry. Do you remember, something very good'she spoke shyly_happened to me, just through the misery of that horrible New Year's Day. I was engaged then, wasn't I? And Arthur's going to the Abbey—that began through Tracy leading him into mischief, and plaguing us all. And my getting to know Miss Clune—that was through her illness; and now, this biggest good-fortune of all-through her death! Why is it, I wonder?'
And Mr. Marvin returned to his old habit of answering her by a quotation—666
.666 All things work together for good to them that love God.”.
'I have something else to tell you, Annie, about the will,' said Mr. Hatherly, after a pause, something that will surprise you. You will have a formal notice to-morrow from Miss Clune's lawyer, that among the legacies there is one of two hundred, “as a remembrance of her love and esteem for her relative, Ann Marvin.” I remembered the words, because I knew you would care more for the kind thought than even for the thing itself.'
Annie gave him an incredulous look. "You don't mean it!' she said ; and then her head went down, and the poor child sobbed aloud, with a mixture of pleasure and pain that she could not understand.
Mr. Hatherly was right; it was the kind thought for her, not the legacy, that she treasured; though afterwards, when she could think over her unexpected riches, the possession of such a sum—immense as it appeared to her limited notions—was in itself no small pleasure.
“Those horrid bills' were to trouble her no more, in her visions of the wonderful things that were to come out of her own especial property ; every little comfort or luxury that her father would care for was to be attainable: in the future what a trousseau she was to have, and at no expense to the scanty housekeeping purse. But those fancies were distant as yet; to-night she could only say, in her grateful tears, “She did care for me.' She could only think, in her loving way, of the empty sick-room, the grave in the quiet churchyard, the words that had been in her ears all day, 'This corruption must put on incorruption ; this mortal must put on immortality.'
'I say! it's settled at last, and you're every one to come over to us next Thursday,' began Arthur, in his ordinary fashion of taking upon himself all Mr. Hatherly's invitations; they're getting on first-rate with the foundations, and the stone's nearly carved; I've seen it.'
‘St. Philip and St. James's Day! said Annie, as soon as that! I am very glad.
Soon! you call it, do you ? returned the boy; “I like that! more than half a year since the money was left, and nothing to do but cut away a bit of turf, and knock up a bit of wall.'
Arthur had not much idea of anything less practical than the actual walls of the building, and listened with disdain to any mention of the legal proceedings that had been delaying the completion of his friend's undertaking—the new church at Abbey Hamlet.
'Such a day we mean to have !' he proclaimed to the admiring audience of the children, dinner for the whole place, heaps of games, Evening Service, and everything else! Won't it be first-rate? I say, you didn't know about the coloured windows, Annie? he's got the drawings for you to look at,'—with a toss of his head towards Mr. Hatherly, who was listening with a well-satisfied look to his pupil's encroachments. 'Two coloured windows; one apiece for him and Mr. Clune. Mr. Clune's is a sort of tomb-stone to his sister, you know ; and, I say,' lowering his voice, who do you think Mr. Hatherly's is for? Mamma !
Annie flushed up in a moment. 'How good of you!' she said, turning to Mr. Hatherly, with a face that showed her gratitude; 'oh, are those the drawings ?' as he took a large roll from his pocket, and began unfolding it before her.
'Yes, the designs, and something else,' he said, 'which you must see afterwards. Mr. Clune's memorial window-mine.'
Annie hardly knew what the designs were; she was looking at the two names, unobtrusively placed in scrolls beneath the figures : how pleasant it was to think of their making a part, as it were, of the holy building!
‘Here is the other sketch,' said Mr. Hatherly, when Annie had pored for no inconsiderable time over the bright window designs; "the inscription—no, on second thoughts you shall not see this. I think I would rather show you the original on Thursday.'
The sheet of paper went back into its covering; but Annie cared little for it; those memorials had fascinated her, and she only regretted that the forthcoming ceremony was not the opening of the completed church.
'I almost wish Aunt Catherine was here to see this !' she said ; 'even she must be delighted.'
Aunt Catherine had forsaken the Vicarage: another winter, she declared, in such a place would be too much to go through; and she had packed up her numerous boxes and disappeared, with many sincere selfreproaches for the loss she believed she was inflicting on those poor children, and a generous attempt to atone for it, in the most substantial way she could. Annie's heart softened into a little bit of remorse, when-after the tearful good-byes and parting injunctions had been given, and the fly had driven off, with a sly "hurrah' from the youngsters—Mr. Marvin called her into his study to show her a bank-note.
“Your aunt has kindly insisted on giving me this half-yearly, my dear, for all of you. It is a most liberal gift.'
Annie thought so too; and her severest strictures against Aunt Catherine were limited after that to a remark that “it was a pity some good people were so disagreeable.'
But no one could deny that her absence made the prospect of the coming May Day considerably brighter to the children, whose only fear now was that the day should be wet, when, Arthur explained, half the fun would be spoiled.
However, St. Philip and St. James's Day came, with all the brightness of early spring; and once more the Vicarage party drove up to an Abbey festival, an hour before anyone else had dreamed of arriving, in compliance with Mr. Hatherly's, or rather Arthur's, pressing commands to be in time. Mr. Hatherly was at the archway, waiting to welcome them, and took possession of Annie before she had time to see anything more than a confusion of wreaths and banners, and such preparations.
'I want to show you something quietly,' he said, taking her towards the site of the new building; "the original of the drawing you wanted to see the other day. Here we are coming to the platform put up for the ceremony; 'it is the foundation stone-one of the corner stones, strictly speaking. It will be visible, so we have had an inscription carved on it.'
Annie looked up to the great mass of stone, suspended from a crane above the spot it was soon to be laid upon, and read :
TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE MEMORY OF ALL SAINTS,
AND IN ESPECIAL REMEMBRANCE OF
HARRIET MARVIN AND ISABELLA CLUNE,
EDWARD HATHERLY AND EDWIN CLUNE.
Harriet was her mother's name.
Annie turned pale.
'Come away,' said Mr. Hatherly, seeing how overcome she was, and took her away from the workmen and the villagers into a path that led to a thick shrubbery, on a more private part of the grounds. “Sit down for a few minutes ;' putting her on a rough garden-seat; 'I fancied you would like to see that.'
* Like it ! said Annie, finding words at last; “I thought the memorial window was pleasure enough ; but this ! oh, is it really Mamma's name?'
'Really. The church is to be a joint memorial: Mr. Clune's share of the work is in remembrance of his sister; yours, of
mother.' ‘Mine !' said Annie, still in a very choky voice; 'it is yours!'
'It is the same thing,' was the happy answer ; 'you know that, Annie!'
Annie was in too great a state of confusion to attempt an answer.
'I want you to come home,' Mr. Hatherly went on in his own quiet way; 'you know the cause of the delay we talked of is quite removed. I want you at home.'
It was a lovely home to come to! From the higher ground that they were on Annie looked down on it all: the old building, greyer and more
picturesque than ever in the surroundings of the early spring foliage; contrasting with it, the white stone of the newly-begun church, with bright colours in wreaths and banners waving from every point of the scaffolding; between the two, the tall spire of the traditional May-pole, carrying its burden of many-coloured flowers high above the heads of the merry crowd, trooping in from all directions; a beautiful, happylooking home!
'Not yet !' she said shyly; 'I mustn't leave Papa yet, and the children—all for my own pleasure.'
'It would be for your own pleasure ? asked Mr. Hatherly.
“That it would !' she answered, colouring; “but I mustn't think of it yet. It seems almost wrong of me to think of—anything of that sort; and it is hardly more than a year since we went into mourning. Besides, they haven't a housekeeper to take my place,' she ended, in a lighter tone.
'I have got another reason for wanting you not to put it off very long, said Mr. Hatherly, with a smile.
"What is it?
'If I had had a brother, Annie, I should have given him a University education. I should have liked to see him in Holy Orders, I think. When
you come home here, Arthur will be brother.' Annie jumped up, in greater surprise than ever.
“How good you are! how good you are ! she kept repeating; she could say nothing else, and it was enough for him.
'Hallo! where are you? If you knew how I've been hunting high and low,' said a boyish voice; and Arthur himself appeared, scrambling up among the shrubs in great disregard of the path. “Ah! I see ! Have you been telling her?-I say, Annie, I'm going to Oxford after all! Didn't I say there never was anybody like him!'
‘You were right,' murmured Annie; "ah, and that was the meaning of your always sending me some message about the classics! And you have been his tutor!'
' Hasn't he, then! And a good stiff time I've had with the Greek and all the rest of it. But I didn't mind much,' concluded the boy, with a virtuous air.
'I have had this in my mind for some time, you must know,' said Mr. Hatherly; ‘Arthur and I have kept our secret well. Who knows that some day he may not be curate at All Saints' ?'
“Ah! that's a bore !' said the boy; 'I say, Annie, he might have had the presentation, now they're going to make the Abbey into a district, I heard Mr. Clune say so; and he might have given it to me! And if you believe it, he's got a crotchet about it, and he's going to hand over the presentation to the Bishop; and I don't believe he'll put me in.'
"Very likely not,' said Mr. Hatherly; he always seemed to enjoy his pupil's not too respectful mode of treating him; Arthur might have been his brother already, to judge by the style of intercourse between the two.