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Ije imcfl, Nero Bloomficft, )a.
Miss Fortescue the Seamstress, fortuneTchanges. tTTIIO Is that lady, Miss Dunbar? T T She has a very sweet face." The interrogator was a young gentleman who had made an early evening call on the lady mentioned. The person to whom he referred was on the point of taking her , leave as he entered. 1 . " The young lady,'' said Miss Dunbar, slightly emphasizing the noun substantive, "has been working for me a seamstress." " A seamstress I Upon my word, I should not have suspected it !" said the young man. "That accounts, no doubt, for the excellent taste displayed in her dress. And yet, from the slight observation I had of her, thbre was an ease in her manner, an air of refinement, one would not look for in a person of her calling." " Really, Mr. Stanley, you are quite ob serving !" remarked the lady, with a light laugh. ' "As Miss Fortescue ' is generally employed in the first circles, she may have - acquired a certain degree of polish, although I have not noticed that she differed from the generality of girls of her class, whose greatest ambition seems to be to ape the manners and copy the style of dress of those who move in the highest walks of life." . A furtive smile flickered for a moment on the young man's face at this characteristic remark, as he said in reply: ,,...! " Your remark may apply to some," said the young man, " but I caunot think it will to all. This liss Fortescue, J think you said was her name she certainly ex hibited noue of that vulgar affectation of which you speak at least I detected none." , "O, she may possibly be an exception. I have not observed her particularly, but I dare say a close scrutiny would discover the usual alloy." ' " And in whom of us may not alloy be found, Miss Dunbar? Rarely, very raily, ' will you find the the pure metal. . In the best there is always some bascadmixturo." "What are you discussing with such grave earnestness?" said a young lady, dressed in the height of fashion, as she en tered the room. "I heard something about 'metals' and 'alloys,' which sounded very much like one of Professor 's lectures." " We were discussing the characters of dressmakers," said youug Stanley, with a mock-serious tone. , . , "A very recondite subject, truly 1" laughed the young lady. "Do not let me interrupt you." ' " ' 11 Tir - i l ' i ' ' i iv d uuu just commenced as you enter ed, Miss Gates," remarked Miss Dunbar. '."Pray proceed, I beg of you. But apropoe, rattled on the young lady, " I met my lady Fortescue just around the corner. What grand airs she puts on, to be sure t One would never suspect that she belongs to the working classes. By the by, Miss Dunbar, my errand was to secure her after you have done with her, but she informed me that she does not'in tend to go ' out hereafter, and if we want her services we must wait upon ber at her own house the idea !" "Insufferable I" exclaimed the young gentleman, smothering an inclination to laughter. You spoke of airs put on by Miss For tescue, said he," wishing to draw the lady out - "I must confess that! thought her very unassuming. Her manners appeared natural, easy, and wholly free from affecta .. tion." . '.' Well, perhaps I should not consider her deportmeut exceptionable in one in a different sphere of life,",; replied .Miss Gttte'', ,'....'.. "Pardon me, Miss Gates, but I fail to perceive why the deportmeut which would be perfectly proper in say Miss Dunbar, or yourself, for instance should be so of fensive in Miss Fortescue." In the meanwhile, she who had given rise to the discussion recorded in the last chapter, was proceeding on her homeward way with a light step and buoyant heart more light and more buoyant by far than in the early days of her work life. ' A smil ing expression lighted up her features as if some pleasant thought was nestling in her heart, lending an additional . charm to ber rare beauty. Occasionally a , low snatch of song, a strain here and there of some favor ice melody, would ripple from her lips as if she were surcharged with music. : Her step, her carriage, every movement be trayed a natural grace. There was not the slightest approach to affectation to be dis covered , in either. The "grand airs" spoken of , by Miss Gates, existed only in that lady's imagination, or the disparaging remark was prompted solely from envy or The appearance of the youug dressmaker could not fail to attract the admiring atten tion of the most casual observer. The most .critical could And uotbiog iu it to cavil at. There was a total absence of everything like meretricious display. Tbs material of her dress were of the simplest kind, but she possessed one of those ao 4 commodating forms that rendered what ever she wore becoming to her, and she bad the rare taste which make the most ordinary attire attractive. Borne ladies, let them be as painstaking as they will, how ever prodigal may be their means and ap pliances, lamontably fail to produce a pleasing effoct They never appear well dressed. Otbors, and Miss Fortescue was a noticeable instance, meagre as may be their toilet, and slight the care bestowed upon it, win at once our admiration by the fitting and harmonious adjustment of their apparel. No part of it seems incongruous, nothing is out of place. The effoct wrought seems something more than the accomplishment of mere art. We have said nothing of the antecedents of our heroine. An instance cited by Frederick Stanley was in nearly every par ticular the counterpart of the experience of Alice Fortescue. . She had . been tenderly reared; until the death of her father she had enjoyed alAhe advantages wealth could bestow. The host of educational privileges had been hers, and she - had not slighted them, nor had she negloctcd those graceful accomplishments which lend such a charm to the femal character. All her life, until the ' shadow fell across her path, she had mingled in What is somewhat ambiguously styled " jfiie best society" society in which it is very doubtful if Miss Gates would be tolerated. ' ' In an evil hour ber father's fortune sud denly disappeared. . A commercial crisis swept over the land, leaving in its wak wreck and ruin. The tempest burst when Mr. Fortescue was prostrated on a bed of sickness. The , blow fell upon him with crushing effect. He was not in a condition to secure a remnant of his hardly-acquired property for his wife and child, and he died leaving them wholly unprovided for. There was no singularity In his case. There have been untold numbers of such misfor tunes in the past they are of daily occur rence and there will be continual sad rep etitions of them in the future. Fortunately, Mrs. Fortescue possessed a limited fortune in her own right a neat cottage-like tenement in a suburban town, and a small sum of money, a mere pittance, but sufficient for the time being to keep the wolf from the door. To this compara tively humble abode she removed soon after the death of her husband. The change from vthe palatial mansion, her late city residence, was indood great, but she ac commodated herself to her altered circum stances with an unrepinlng spirit. On her daughter's account, more than on her own, she regretted the changes that had taken place. For herself life had but little to of fer. A few more years and she would be relieved from all worldy care. But the thought of leaving Alice unprovided for, at times cast a shadow upon her spirits. . At the time of her father's death Alioe was just entering her seventeenth year. Iu her grief for her loss, she was scarcely conscious of the reverse of fortune that had befallen them. When, however, in course of time, the sad truth gradually dawned upon her, instead of yielding to desponden cy she aroused herself to meet the exigency with an unquniling spirit. : The occasion brought into action the latent forces of her character. . From the pampered pet of the household she suddenly developed into a noble, self-sustaining, energetio woman, willing for any sacrifice and prompt for any required duty. She insisted upon assum ing tasks from which her mother would fain have relieved her, and she entered upon their performance with such a cheer fulness of spirit and such ready aptness as to immeasurably lighten her toil and dispel its irksomeness. That she felt the change in her condition, and keenly, too, at times, cannot he denied; but with a strength of character remarkable in one so young, and so delicately nurtured as she bad been, she forced her thoughts away from the past, and with a brave fortitude disciplined her self to submit ' without a murmur to ber lot. " A time soon arrived which put her reso lution to the test. Their scanty means were nearly exhausted, and with gloomy forebodings Mrs. Fortescue looked forward to the period when actual want would stare them in the face. ' The good woman now reproached herself as she surveyed her scantily furnished dwelling, and thought how this, that and the other article, pur chased before she fully realized her im poverished condition before she had learn ed the full value of money might have been dispensed with. It is true that their separate cost bad been insignificant, but the aggregate amounted to a sum she now felt she was illy able to spare. To one who has had the command of unlimited means there is no lesson more difficult to learn than that of rigid economy. She. sought counsel of her daughter in stead of a kurden she had begun to look upon Alice as a support and suggested the propriety of disposing of such articles as were not absolutely needed. , " No, dear mother," said Alice, ." let us keep them. They would bring us in but the merest trifle, and we might as well throw them away." , , "But, my child," said the mother, In tones of sadness, "our means are nearly gone. Something must be done to replen ish them." " Listen to me, mother," and there was enoouragement In the tones and looks of the young girl. " I have a project which I trust will afford us relief. ' Why may I not give lessons in music on the plauo or in singing?" ' "My dear child, 'what do you know about teaching ?" " I know that I hav6 no experience as a teacher, mother, but I have been taught, and I think I can soori acquire the art. As for my qualifications, it would be a reproach to me, after so much had been expended on my musical education, if I were not competent. I have the vanity to boliove that I am, and that, you know, mother dear, is one-half the battlo." , Having fresh in her memory her late life of afli uency'and luxurious ease, remember ing also how her daughter had boon brought up, with every want supplied, with not a wish ungratified, it was not strange, nay, it was very natural, that Mrs. Fortes cue should "at first view" the proposal of Alice with some degree of repugnance. But her own good sense, backed up by the heroic arguments of her daughter and in her cast they were heroic at last overcame this feeling, and reluctantly brought her to entertain and finally sanction the project. This point settled, the next was to Ob tain pupils. To this task Alioe immediate ly applied herself. Unfortunately, hor sanguine hopes were doomed to an early disappointment. She found the field al ready fully occupied. Teachers of long standing had monopolized all the scholars. One or two only could be secured, not suf ficient to make the business an object. - Disappointed but not disheartened at ber failure, Alice had another proposition to offer. , , ,, " You once complimented me, mother," she urged, " on my expertnoss with the needle. Now I have ascertained that there is quite a demand for this kind of work, that it is remunerative, and why should we hesitate to perform it ?" " To think we should be reduced to such a strait 1" sighed Mrs. Fortescue, with a very pardonable show of distaste. " It is hard," said Alice, " but is it not something worse than folly to indulge in such reflections? As we are compelled to a humble diet," she added, with alight laugh, " the sooner we commence eating it the sooner we shall become used to it. I dare say, after a while, we shall come to relish it very well T' Alice spoke thus lightly, not that she did not fully sympathize in her mother's feel ingsnot that she did not feel keenly tho position in which they were placed but she did it in part to give, if possible, a cheerful tone to her mother's spirits, and partly to cloak the emotions warring in her own breast. , Mrs. Fortescue at once d ivin ed her motive, and folding hor in a warm embrace, she said, with much feeling:' '. "The sacrifice, my dear daughtor, will be a thousand fold more hard to be endur ed on your part than on mine; therefore. do as you will, and may Heaven reward you for your filial devotion I" , , . It was not long before mother and daugh ter found plenty of employment, and the hungry wolf prowling at the door took his departure. If the elite of the place were not disposed to associate with Mrs. and Miss Fortesoue, they were very ready to bestow upon them their patronage. With this the latter were well content. They were not ambitious to mingle with those who assumed to rank higher in the social scale, and they were too well versod in way of the world to resent their exclu sion. It was a blessed thing for Alice that she was one who possessed a hopeful, cheerful disposition, and who i preferred rather to bosk on the sunny than grope on the shady side of life. Many placed in her situation would have made themselves miserable by contrasting their present with their former condition. But she wisely eutombed the past, and successfully resisted any inclina tion to exhume it. She would not permit herself to indulge in repining, kuowing well now useless they were, and what evils they wrought, both, mental and physical. She instituted a strict guard over her feel ings, and whenever she experienced a ten dency to despondency, she combat tod it with a firm determination to overcome it; and such was her strength of resolve, that she at last achieved that most difficult of all conquests, victory over self. Hence it was that you seldom found a shadow upon her brow. Hence it was that ber features always wore a pleasstit, sunny expression, the reflex of a contented mind. We are aware we are portraying a very perfect character, but do not think it has not its prototype in life. It was not customary with Alice to make engagements away from home.. If ber ser vices were required the work was brought to the house. This wsjs the general under standing. Still, in a few instances, and on special occasions, .she had been induced to deviate from this rule. She bad done so for . Miss Dunbar. . But her experience there led to a resolve that it should be the last engagement abroad. What those experiences were she would have found it difficult to explain had she been questioned on the subject. Miss Dun bar was very polite ; in fact, she rattier overdid the matter was too lavish of. her courtesy. There was an evident lack of sincerity in ber affability, which neutraliz ed all her efforts to . rendor herself agree able, , In her manners she was very lady like, yet there was a certain Indefinable something in her demeanor which seemed iutended to make Alice sensible of the dif ference in their stations. There was no thing in her manner openly offensive, no thing which one could resent, and that made it all the more annoying. Alice was quick to perceive anything of this nature, and although sho would not permit it to ruffle her, she determined that hereafter she would not subject hor forbearance to any such tests. ; , ' j Whatevor annoyance Alice may have ex perienced at Miss Dunbar's, the cheerful frame of mind in which she returned from her day's labor conclusively indicated that she did not permit them to crowd her buu ny disposition. Her happy mood,however, was principally inspired from the fact that a long cherished wish was on the eve of boing gratified. One of the greatest deprivations to which she had been . subjected by the reverse of fortune was tho loss of her piano, and from the moment she found that success would crown her efforts in the new occupation in which she had engaged, she resolved to replace it. For this purpose she devoted a portion of her earnings, snsh as could be conveniently spared. So numerous had been the calls for her Service, and , so in dustriously had she applied herself, that the requsite sum had boen aoquired much sooner than she had hoped for. . On her way to Miss Dunbar's in the morning of the day the reader was intro duced to hef, sho had ordered an instru ment, previoBly selected, to be sent to the house. It was the pleasing anticipation of again being able to indulge hertaste for musio that lightened her stop and flooded her heart with melody as she hastened homoward in the evening, after accom plishing a few errands on hor route. , " Has it come, " mother doar?"' was hor first eager inquiry as she entored the house. "Yes, my child it is in the next room," responded the mother with a gratified smile. ' ' V Without waiting to remove her outer dress,' tho delighted girl hastened to the parlor, and soon her fingers were busily and lovingly employed among the ivory keys. Although the ' instrument fell far short of the one she formerly used a dicker ing grand yet never before it seemed to her, did keys respond so perfectly to her touch, never before did she elicit such richness and brilliance of tone. Most as suredly, never before did ber voice gush forth more molodcously, never before ex press such deep pathos, thau when, after a brief preludo, she ' commenced . an " Ave Maria" of Schumann's. There was no striving for effects, no trickery of execu tion.' She poured out her' wholo soul in the rendering, as if inspired, as indeed she was, by the very spirit of the illustrious composer. ' ' ' 1 ' Hor mother listentod with tearful eyes to the performance. Since tho doath of Alico's father she had not heard her daughter sing, and the sound of her voice again in song brought vividly beforo her scenes of the past. Sho strove, howover, to conceal her emotions, and when the pioco was fin ished, she said : " It seems good my dear daughter, to hear your voice again." " Does it make you sad, mother?" asked Alice, who at once perceived tho effect hor singing had produced. "Sad, my child, but not sorrowful," re plied Mrs. Fortescue. "Musio of a char actor like that you have just performed, you know, always thus affects me." It is curious to observe how slight aro tho causes that apparently ofteu give a col oring to all our after lifei It may be a word spoken, an act almost unconsciously performed, themceting or not meeting with a particular poison, a visit . made or a visit deferred to somo place, a letter mis directed or not sent something as trival as either of these occurrences not unfre quoutly works an entire change, for good or for evil, in our destiny, so that, uuless we have faith that we ate governed by some thing besides blind chance, we might con clude that wo wei o tho veriest sports of an accident. ' Mrs. Fortescue was not the sole listener to hor daughter's performance. Was it chance or was it Alice's good genius that directed the steps of a gentleman towards the cottage just as she commenced ? The windows were open, and ' as he arrived abreast of them her rich full tones swelled out npon the evening air. Pausing in his walk, the unseen auditor stood as if en tranced, resuming his way only when the last note died away, and a movoment in the room indicated that the singer had loft the instrument. A few days after the incident just men tioned, on returning from an engagement at Mis Dunbar's and Alioe congratulated herself that the visit was a final one to her surprise hor mother handed her a loiter left by the postman. Whom could It be from? She hold .no correspondence with a single being. She examined the hand willing and the address, scrutinized the the post mark, puzzliug over them as some people would on receiving au unexpected letter before they break the seal, . . , Whou at last, the missive was opened and her eye had glanoed over its contents, a Joyful exclamation burst from ber lips. , .".What is it, my child ?" asked Mrs. Fortescue, with unconcealed Interest. . "Listen, I will read it to you, mother." And Alice hastily repeated the content of the note. ' It was from a gentleman, an entire strangor, who signed himself as chairman of the musio committee of G Street Church, one of the largest and wealthiest churches in the place. Its pur port was, that the soprano of the choir, composed of a quartet, had recently left, and Alioe was invited to fill the vacancy, The present salary was fOOO a year, but possibly it might be raised hereafter. A' rehearsal would take place on Saturday evening, and if she had concluded to accept the situation, he would call and accompany her to the church for the purpose of in troduced her to the other members of the choir. . ' . ' " Think of it mother 1" exclaimed he delighted girl, after having read the note; "six hundred dollars a yearl Double what we earn, plodding . all day with the needle I", " But is there no mistake ? Are you sure the letter 1b intended for you?" asked ' the mother scarcely loss exoilod than the tf'V. ....... ... ' "Yes, see ' here, It is plainly written, 'Miss Alice Fortescue, L Street.' A blessing on the one who wrote it I" " But who can it be? , Who knows any thing about your musical abilities ?" asked Mrs. Fortescue. " It is all a mystery to me," replied Alice. , " No one but you has heard me sing in this place. Whoever he Is, a bless ing on him, I repeat I No more work for ' you, mother dear 1 No more wearing your eyes out stitching, stitching from morn ing to night 1" And in the exuberance of her joy the happy girl fondly caressed hor parent. "Are you confident, my child," asked Mrs. Fortescue, after the excitemeut pro duced by the reception of the note had in a measure subsided, " that you are capable of filling the situation ?" , " Why, you kuow mother, my teacher often spoke of my 'extraordinary faoility,' as he styled it, for reading music. Now that performed in church certainly cannot be very difficult, and I have not the slight est fear on that score. As for my voice you are the best judge of its quality. " I have no doubt but what it will give perfect satisfaction ; still, I shall feel some anxiety until I know you have stood tho test," was the mother's reply. ' Alice at once despatched a note accept ing the position, in wlich she inserted a proviso, that, if on trial, her performance was not satisfactory, the committee was at liberty to cancel the engagoment. " ' She now awaited the evening of rehearsal in no small flutter of excitement. Usually, she held her feelings under strict control ; but the occasion to hor was a momentous ono, and it was not to be marvellod at that she looked forward to it with on unwonted degree of interest. Continued. Strange Incidents, but True. The Treuton, N. J., True Democrat says : We knew a place in our childhood, called "Deadmau's Den" where a small coach bad been robbed and a number of passengers murdored. That place was pointed out as one where no grass would grow; and when we saw it, after our thinking powers were matured, it was in the same condition as when we first looked on it in our boyhood days. A foolish man undertook to carry a sack of wheat, five bushels, from tho village of of Penn iu the county of Bucks, in Eng land, the village boing named after Wil liam Penn who founded Pennsylvania. The destination was Totteridge. When nearly up the hill to the lost named village, the man fell dead. The hill has since boen called "Break Heart Hill," and on tho spot where the man fell no grass has grown since. Another instance of grass not growing where a fatality occurred, before we intro duco the subject which calls forth the re marks : " Pond Riding" is a place where a mail coach, horses, driver, guard and passengers went down one dark night. All humanity on that coach that wild night were drowned, as wero also the horses. Down the bunk where the coach wont into Pond Riding, no grass grows. The above are all from our actual knowl edge of superstitions, have all been seen by us and sure enough the bare spots ap pear to verify the suporstitions.' Now we come nearer home. Supersti tition has as littlo to do with our mental make-up as with that of any mind, and we only give the following, for thought for those who do sometimes wonder how the mysteries are woven with those circum stances which are within our oomprehen sion. On Nov. 13, 1803, James Roland was murdered at Princeton by James Lewis, and the body cast Into Princeton Cem etery. Lewis su fib red the death penalty for his orime'at Mercer Jail in 18G3. Iu the cemetery, where the murdored man's head was forced into the ground, by the force of the blows from the club used by the murderer, no grass has- grown since ; and Mr. Peter Nolan, the sexon at the time of the murder and ever sinoe, says there has not been anything done to pre vent the growth of the grass at that spot. Mora than that ; blood from the murdered man, in the fearful struggle for life, was scattered ou a tombstone which bears the name of Edward Hunt, and has left black marks, which remain unto this day. Peter Nolau, the sexon, was one of those who found ths body of Rowland in the cem etery after the murder had been committed, and ho vouches for the truth of the state ment we have made. Weave fancies as you please try to rea son to the best of your powers ; the state ments above are given as facts, and with out attempting explanations or seeking to unravel cause, we leave the superstitions, or whatever they may be, In the bald state in which we bavo given them. I