ation of the two fathers, the unconscious Grace was sitting

in the very next room,

" In maiden meditation, fancy free ;"

thinking no more of courtship, marriage, and Ringwood,

than of squibs, crackers, and Guy Faux. Her lively spirits,

her sweet temper, her natural good taste, and artless manners,

had advanced her hourly in the opinion of Mrs.

Hamilton ; till at last, after a long kind look at her fair young

face and graceful figure, that lady addressed her, in a tone

of tenderness that thrilled through her very soul, as " her

dear Miss Rivers."

" If I may beg a favour, my dear madam/' she replied,

" pray oblige me by following the precedent of Sir Mark, and

callingme only by my Christian name, Grace, plain Grace."

" Well then, Grace, my dear Grace, did you ever place

a hollow sea-shell to your ear, and notice


its perpetual

for the waters that "

ought to fill it ?

Grace signified that she had often done so on the coast.

" Come hither, then, and tell me truly, did that young

heart of yours never feel a craving, an indescribable craving,

as if there was some aching void in it that required


filling up ?

The question suffused the face and neck of Grace with a

deep blush ; but it lasted only for an instant, and vanished

again ere she had pronounced the first word of her answer.


Indeed, my dear madam, I have felt it often always

at the sound of one word, and at the sight of one action ;"

and she concluded the sentence with a sigh.

" I know well what you mean," said Mrs. Hamilton,

pressing her own hands to her bosom. " I feel it here at

this moment here, where I have felt it for years. Alone,

or in society in joy or in sorrow, in sickness, in health,

here it is the same intense yearning, everlastingly crying

out in its agony, give ! give ! Tell me, my dear Grace,

tell me, is it not even thus that your overcharged heart has


pined for a mother ?


Oh, God knows it," cried Grace, clasping her hands,

and with difficulty suppressing the tears that were rushing

upwards to her eyes ;


my heart has throbbed almost to

bursting, at the sight of caresses which I never oh never

knew ! never can know !"

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