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parlour, and servants from the kitchen, all came running to inquire what could be the matter ; and louder than all was poor Mrs. Nelson's voice, exclaiming in a distracted way, “My child, my child, what's happened to my child ? I will pass,” she added, as they hesitated to let her, for Miss Celia's arm was badly burnt. “I will pass, and know what the accident has been.” But when she saw the state of her daughter's arm, she became so faint, that some one- -Mrs. Fortescue, I believe had to take her out of the room, and I saw nothing of her for a long time, as I had to take charge of poor Miss Celia, while Mr. Nelson ran off for a doctor. Curiously enough, the accident had happened in the way I so much dreaded,—the young lady's sleeve had caught fire from a lighted taper, just as she was in the act of standing on a chair, and taking down a pincushion from off the tree. It was a sad end to the Christmas treat, was it not ? and I could not help pitying the poor school-girls for having their enjoyment so completely spoilt, though as to what became of them I really can hardly say; I believe, however, that one of the servants took charge of them, and I know they all reached their homes in safety, and that we sent after them the next day all the Christmas gifts which they, in the bustle, had left behind. When the doctor had been and had dressed Miss Celia's arm, we grew more comfortable, for he evidently did not think very seriously of the burn; as, however, he seemed a little afraid that fever might follow, it was arranged that I should stay and sit up with her that night, for she slept by herself, and she was not fit to be left alone. Well, all was quiet in the house at last, even Mrs. Nelson had retired to rest, and I was sitting watching Miss Celia, who had fallen into an uneasy sleep, when the room door opened very, very softly, and Mrs. Fortescue came in. The light of the night-lamp fell full upon her face, and for the first time I saw her well. “Don't be frightened," she whispered, for I started up, and had nearly uttered a cry.
I was anxious about my niece, for I heard her moaning just now, that was all ; but what is the matter? I fear you're over tired, I would have sat up myself, if-" My dears, I could contain myself no longer ! "Oh ma'am, don't you know me,” I said. " I'm Kesia Morris !”
“ Kesia Morris !” cried she, “what, my old nurse: is it possible !"
She stretched out her hands, I caught them in both mine; and so, after all these years, I stood face to face with my own dear Miss Emily Elliot again.
Miss Emily Elliot she was, however, no longer; she was now Mrs. Fortescue, and a widow. Ah, nurse, said she presently, “and is it really you? I wonder I shouldn't have known you."
“ I'm not surprised at that myself, ma'am," said I, " I'm a good deal aged since we parted." “And I'm altered too,” she said,
we have both known a great many changes since then."
And the tears came into her eyes, as she thought of the last great change, which had made her a widow. I could not help crying a little, too, from sympathy; and, taking her by the hand, I led her to the fire (for the night was bitter cold), and there we sat down together, she crying still, with her head upon my shoulder, while I gently stroked her hair, and comforted her, as I used to do when she was a little child. Oh, how often she had come, and, with her head upon my lap, had poured out to me her childish griefs ! her brothers had been quarrelling, perhaps, and she could not bear to hear them, or Fred had pulled her white kitten's tail, and had made her cry; or, greatest of all, her canary had been found lying dead at the bottom of its cage. Poor dear! she had always so tender a heart, but now, in her sorrow for her husband's death, she had learnt, I know, to seek for comfort where alone it may at all times be found. Well, after a bit we grew calmer, and were beginning to talk to each other in the lowest whispers, when Miss Celia suddenly started up in bed, “Oh mama, I blew it out!” cried she.
Mrs. Fortescue and I were instantly at her side, both feeling rather frightened.
“Hush, love," said her aunt, gently, “you were dreaming, I think."
“No,-yes—I think I was,” said Miss Celia, “about the magic lanthorn, you know," —"who's that ?" And she looked, in a bewildered way, at me.
"It's only Kesia-Mrs. Morris, I mean, love," replied her aunt. “She is sitting up with you, because you burnt yourself, do you remember?
“Yes, yes, I remember-oh aunt, do you think I shall die ?”
No, dear, no; why do you tremble so ?"
I blew the candle out in the magie lanthorn, you kuow, and then, because I was ashamed of it, thinking it such a silly trick, I told you a story about it, and-and-"
Mrs. Fortescue looked at me in some alarm, and hastily laid her hand on her niece's head. " It's very hot, her forehead's very hot,” said she,
we must persuade her to lie down."
But I, seeing that Miss Celia was much agitated, and knowing what was really on her mind, whispered to her aunt that she had better allow her to tell her all. And so, with a little of my help, there came out the whole history of her falsehood. 66 Mrs. Morris told me I might do harm by telling it;” she added, sobbing, "and I did ; perhaps Esther wouldn't have told a a story if I hadn't done so first. I heard her
she was no worse than me, and I couldn't bear that, and then I tried to be very merry, though I did not feel so a bit, and I fancied Mrs. Morris thought badly of me, so I got vexed with her for that, and would reach down the things, though she advised me not, in order
- The things? What things do you mean, dear ?" said her aunt, puzzled.
“ The toys from off the Christmas tree,” I said in explanation. " I was afraid it was rather dangerous for Miss Celia, with her muslin frock.”
Yes, yes,” sobbed poor Miss Celia, " and I was determined not to mind you: and—oh I did it partly to tease yon, but you're not burnt yourself, are you?" cried she, suddenly seizing hold of one of my hands, which was bandaged up. I had said nothing about it before to any one, being unwilling, of course, to cause extra trouble, but I was now obliged to confess that my left hand was slightly burnt, though I assured her it gave me but little pain.
* Oh Kesia, why did you keep it to yourself? that's
just like you of old,” said Mrs. Fortescue, in a reproachful way.
• Will you ever forgive me?” asked Miss Celia, looking up
my face in so piteous a manner, that it quite brought the tears to my eyes. Forgive you, my dear! don't talk of forgiveness.” I was beginning, but Mrs. Fortescue stopped me. “ You do, indeed, owe a great deal to Mrs. Morris, Celia,” she said, “and I am sure it must pain you to think that you thing to vex her, or that she should suffer by your fault; still, as she is very kind (she was good enough to call me so, my dears,) I am sure she now forgives you."
“ But, aunt, I was very wrong, wasn't I ? very wrong altogether," said Miss Celia, in an agitated tone. Mrs. Fortescue laid her cheek on her niece's pillow, and said very tenderly, “ Yes, dear, you were ; but the pain you suffer from your fault is sent, no doubt, to warn you to be more careful how you act in time to come. Like the prodigal son you were reading of on Sunday, we all go astray at times from our home, but it is a comfort to believe that our Father in heaven is, in His great goodness, ever ready to welcome us back. Remember that, dearest Celia.
Miss Celia buried her head in a pillow for a minute, then again, looking up, she said, “ I'm so glad I've told you all, I felt so miserable, much more miserable about that than about my arm"; and now I think I might go to sleep, if my burn does not pain me very much-only first, please give me a kiss, won't you ?"
Poor child! we kissed and soothed her, till we had at last the great satisfaction of seeing her go off into a quiet sleep; and when morning came, and brought the doctor, he pronounced her burn to be doing most favourablý, and said that she had no fever about her. I have reason to believe that she confessed to her mother, her falsehood and wilfulness, but she never spoke of it to me again of course, except that whenever she caught sight of my bandaged hand, she would say something of my being “so kind.” She had a grateful heart, the dear young lady, though she had been a little spoiled and over-indulged; but the lesson she had received was not lost upon her, and the idea that her faults might do harm to others as well as to herself, made, I am sure, a deep impression upon her mind. Mrs. Nelson engaged me to stay and nurse her daughter, and much, I must say, I enjoyed the time. Miss Kate was delighted to find that I was the Nurse Kesia, of whom she had so often heard; and Mrs. Fortescue used frequently to come into her niece's room in order to have a chat with me about old times. By degrees, I learnt her history from her own lips; she had married out in Canada, and had lived there until her husband's death, which had taken place about a twelvemonth before ; she had now, however, been induced to return to England, as she had been offered a home in the house of her unmarried brother, Mr. Francis Elliot, my own dear Master Frank.
Oh dear! how glad I was to hear of him again, and to hear, too, that he hadn't forgotten me, nor my kindness to him (as he was pleased to call it), when he was a sickly child. He wasn't over strong now, and had been obliged to return to his native country some years before, because the climate of Canada was too cold for him. He had now taken a very pretty country house, and this he was fitting up to receive his sister and her child in.
Well, my dears, by the end of a few days Miss Celia had so far recovered from her accident as to render my services no longer necessary. I therefore returned to my lodging, quite set up, I can assure you, for the remainder of the winter, as both Mr. and Mrs. Nelson had given me many handsome presents,— they made so much of my having extinguished the fire, though I'm sure I deserved no praise, it was such a simple thing to do ! I was beginning again my lonely life, when Mrs. Fortescue came one day to say that her brother's house was at length prepared for her, and that she was going to leave town next week. I tried to say I was glad to hear it, but somehow the words wouldn't come out—my voice seemed as if it were choked, -and then what did Mrs. Fortescue, but come and lay her hand upon my shoulder, and ask me whether I would go with her into the country?