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IN A STUDIO.

351

hood and all the various developments of girlish hands, to the easy writing and ready expression of the accomplished young woman.

When Olivia was about twelve years old her uncle died, and his widow was shortly afterwards ordered for her health to the south of France; and having now no ties with England, and finding Continental life and climate to her taste, Mrs. Maitland had continued from that time to reside with her niece in various parts of the south of Europe. Meanwhile Cunningham remained in India; although not a brilliant man, his industry, temper, and judgment had gained for him a considerable reputation in his service, and whenever he was on the point of taking a furlough, the transfer to some new employment had always happened to prevent his doing so; now a neglected district to be brought into proper form; now a newly-annexed province to be reduced to order, — some call in the way of preferment appealing to his sense of duty and the love of distinction, and tempting him to stay in the country. Thus year after year passed away without the intended furlough being taken; till at last, when Olivia was arrived at womanhood, and the question arose whether instead of his going home the daughter should not rejoin her father in India, he was invited by the government to assume charge of the province ceded by the nawab of Mustaphabad, and to introduce the blessings of British rule into the districts so long misgoverned by that unfortunate prince. Such a request could not be refused; and Cunningham, feeling that his daughter was more at home with the aunt who had been a mother to her for so many years, than she could be with the father who had now become little more than a name, and being, it must be confessed, now quite reconciled to his solitary life, had just proposed a scheme for completing his new task and eventually retiring on the pension which he had now earned to join his sister and daughter in Italy, when the plan was upset by the news that Mrs. Maitland had accepted the offer of marriage from an Italian nobleman. To Cunningham the idea of such a connection seemed thoroughly repulsive; for although the count was reported to be unexceptionable in every respect save that he was a good deal younger than his intended bride, Cunningham's Indian experiences were not calculated to remove the insular prejudices of an Englishman; and notwithstanding that his sister wrote to him that her marriage should make no difference to Olivia, for that her future husband was equally desirous with herself that she should continue to make her home with them till her father returned from India, a sudden anxiety now possessed him lest his daughter, living in a foreign household, should also fall in love with a foreigner and so be altogether lost to him. He determined, therefore, that she should join him for the remainder of his service; and, writing to express his decision in terms so peremptory as seemed to the kind aunt a poor requital of the many years of loving care bestowed on his child, he knew scarcely an easy moment till he heard in reply that his instructions would be acted on at once. Mrs. Maitland and Olivia made a speedy visit to England, in order that the latter might be placed in charge of the wife of a brother civilian returning to India; and after a brief interval occupied in the preparation of Olivia's outfit, aunt and niece parted at Southampton with mutual tears and sorrowings, each to enter on a new life. The count had followed his intended bride to London, and the marriage was to take place immediately after Olivia's departure, when the married pair would return to live in Italy. "Farewell, my darling child!" she said, folding her niece to her breast in the little cabin of the steamer as it lay on the parting morning alongside of the quay in Southampton Docks; "farewell, and forever! even if you don't marry in India, your father will never let you come to me again." Olivia could only reply through her tears by returning the embrace; nor was there time for further words, for just at that moment rang the warning-bell, summoning those who were not passengers to leave the vessel.




From Blackwood's Magazine.

IN A STUDIO.

BY W. W. STORY.

Belton. I have been thinking of our conversation the other day[1] about pictures and statues, and the enormous prices they brought in ancient days, and I have come to the conclusion that I ought to imitate them in their generosity. So I have come over here to offer you two millions of sesterces for that work you are engaged upon. Now I have said this, I

  1. See Living Age, No. 1625.