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Faithful Margaret by Annie Ashmore

FAITHFUL MARGARET.

_A Novel._

ROBERTSON'S CHEAP SERIES

POPULAR READING AT POPULAR PRICES.

BY ANNIE ASHMORE.

"Vengeance for any cruel wrong Bringeth a dark renown; But fadeless wreaths to her belong Who calmly bears it down; Who, scorning every mean redress, Each recreant art abjures, Safe in the noble consciousness, _She conquers who endures_."

TORONTO: J. ROSS ROBERTSON, CORNER KING AND BAY STREETS.

1880.

FAITHFUL MARGARET.

CHAPTER I.

A DYING WOMAN'S COMMAND.

She was dying--good old Ethel Brand, the mistress for half a century of the hoary castle which stood like an ancient cathedral in the midst of the noble estate in Surrey, Seven-Oak Waaste.

No need now of these whispering attendants, and that anxious little physician; she would not trouble them more. No need for these grim medicine vials, marshaled upon the little table near her couch; she was past mortal needs or mortal help; her face, set in cold repose, seemed glistening with supernal light, while waiting for the fatal kiss of death.

And over her bent a woman, breathless, pulseless, motionless, as if carved from stone, listening, with straining ear, for each slow, rattling breath; watching, with great, glistening eyes, for each darkening shadow over the noble face--Margaret Walsingham.

No high-born dame was she; no fortunate next-of-kin, watching with decorous lament for the moment of emancipation from her weary wait for a dead woman's shoes. Only Mrs. Brand's poor companion, Margaret Walsingham.

Four years had she ministered to the whims, the caprices, the erratic impulses of that most erratic of all creations, an eccentric old woman; and exalting the good which she found, and pardoning the frailties she could not blind her eyes to, her presence had become a sweet necessity to the world-weary dowager, who repaid it by unceasing exactions and doting outbursts of gratitude; and there had been much love between these two.

Paler waxed the high patrician face, darker grew the violet circles beneath her heavy eyes.

Margaret clasped her hands convulsively.

"Will she go before seven?" whispered she.

Old Dr. Gay stooped low and listened to the labored inspiration.


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