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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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CHAPTER XII. Georgiana's Conversion.

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A fortnight had passed away since I had
been an inmate of Mr. Marisett's house, and although
I had sat opposite to Miss De Lancey at
table, twice a day, I had not exchanged a word
with her. Indeed, I hardly dared to look towards
her, and yet I felt that my admiration of her increased
every day; and every time I saw her, she
appeared lovelier than when I saw her before.
If I heard her foot upon the stairs, or in the hall,
as she tripped lightly by the door, it made the
blood rush impetuously through my veins, and
when she spoke, the sound of her voice thrilled
through my whole frame.

Mrs. Butler, the housekeeper, had an only son
at sea, and for his sake she paid me a thousand
little attentions, which I had been a stranger to
since I left my own home. Whenever she found
me alone, she would sit and talk about her “dear
boy,” her “poor child,” while the tears ran down
her cheeks, and she would tell me how much I
resembled him, and how happy she would be if
she could see him but for one minute, only one

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minute, just long enough to kiss him, and bless

One evening I was writing in Mr. Marisett's
private office alone, the door opened softly, and
Mrs. Butler walked in.

“Do you hear the wind, Mr. Franco?” she
asked, “hark! how the rain beats against the
windows. O my poor boy!”

“My dear madam,” I said, “have you any
reason to believe that your son is on the coast?”

“I do not know where he is,” she replied,
sobbing, “but he is at sea, and I never hear the
wind, but I think he is exposed to it, and every
blast goes right to my heart.”

“But my good Mrs. Butler,” I replied, “perhaps
at this moment your son is sailing over a sea
scarcely rippled by the wind, and heneath a sky
as blue and as bright as, as, Miss De Lancey's

I spoke before I was aware, and blushed as the
words escaped my lips. But Mrs. Butler's
thoughts were suddenly diverted from her son
by my answer.

“Ah!” she said, “her eyes are blue and bright.”

I sighed involuntarily.

She shook her head, and exclaimed. “Take

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“However,” I said, “her eyes may be black, or
gray, for aught that I know; she never looks at

“Perhaps she dont?” said Mrs. Butler, in a
tone meant to imply, perhaps she does. “Poor
girl!” continued Mrs. Butler, “she never hears
the wind blow, I dare say, without a beating

“What, has she a friend at sea?” I asked,
while a jealous pang shot through my heart.

“Ah, no,” replied Mrs. Butler; “her father
was lost at sea, and her mother died in consequence,
of a broken heart. But Miss Georgy is
well enough off. She has got enough to make
herself independent, and anybody who may be
lucky enough to get her, besides.”

“Miss De Lancey is a very serious young lady,
is she not?”

“O, very. But she was not always so. Once
she was quite gay, but soon after she came from
boarding school, she got religion, and since then,
she has been very serious. I don't know how it
happens, but young people didn't have a concern
of mind when I was a young lady, as often as
they do now. And yet I do know how it happened
with Miss Georgy, too; and I must say, it

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was the strangest way of being converted, I ever
heard of in my born days.”

“Indeed! and how did it happen?”

“It happened thus. Her uncle is very fond of
pictures, so much so, that he paid enough for one
old painting, to make me comfortable for life.
Well, there is a young artist in the city, whose
pictures pleased Mr. Marisett so much, that he
gave him an order to paint a picture of a certain
size, to be hung up in a particular spot in the parlor,
which was left vacant, for you have observed
that there is not now a vacant spot left.”

“Yes, I had observed that the walls are well
covered, or rather that they are all covered.”

“You needn't have corrected yourself, for you
must acknowledge they are well covered. But to
proceed, Mr. Marisett not only gave the painter
the choice of a subject, but he allowed him to name
his own price for the picture when it was finished.
When it was brought home and hung up, the
dear, good man, was so well pleased with it, he
made the painter a present of a beautiful gold
watch, besides paying him the price agreed upon.”

“Which picture is it?” I asked; for I had
been particularly struck with a holy family, which
hung in a conspicuous place in the parlor.

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“It is the large picture facing the hall door as
you enter the parlor,” replied Mrs. Butler.

“I thought so.”

“Did you? Isn't it lovely! It represents the
infant Savior lying on a bed, while the mother lifts
up the covering to show him to the young baptist,
who is kneeling at his feet. What a wonderful
expression there is in the full black eye of the little
John. Such tenderness, such grief, such intelligence!
And yet you only catch a glimpse of it
too; it is not turned full upon you. What a
wonderful art, that can give a little daub of blueish
paint the power to break up the frozen fountain of
tears in a living creatures breast. And the little
sufferer's feet have been wounded by the hard
sand in the desert; and his tender back has been
scorched by the hot sun; the hairy girdle about
his loins, too, did you ever see any thing like it
before; the hairs stick out from the canvass, the
light glistens among them, and I always fancy I
see them move when a draught of wind sweeps
over the pictures. The poor little dear has fed
upon locust and wild honey; you can see it in his
looks. I never look upon it but I think of my
poor Charles, who is at sea, poor soul. Ah!
did you hear that gust of wind?”

“It was only a slight puff. But what

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connexion was there between this beautiful picture, and
Miss De Lancey's conversion?”

“O, I quite forgot what I commenced talking
about,” said Mrs. Butler. “Why, Miss Georgia
was affected by the picture, more sensibly than
any one else. She was fond of reading, and having
no companion of her own age, she was a
good deal alone, and much of her time she spent
in the parlor. One day, I went in suddenly, and
there I found her on her knees before the picture,
with the tears streaming from her eyes, and the
Bible open at her side. Why, Miss Georgiana, I
said, what in the world is the matter with you?
`O! Mrs. Butler,' she said, `I am so wicked,
I cannot help it.' My dear child, I replied, how
can you talk so. Your uncle would be highly offended,
if he were to hear you say such dreadful
things of yourself. Do, my love, hush up, it is awful.
`My uncle is not my judge,' she said, still
sobbing, and raising her eyes to the picture.
Soon after this, she commenced going to the chapel,
and in course of time, she was admitted to
the communion; she has continued very constant
in her attendance at her meeting, and there is no
end to what she does for the poor. I do think, if
ever there was a real christian, Miss Georgy is

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“Did her uncle oppose her joining the chapel?”
I asked.

“Why, Mr. Marisett, you know, is the loveliest
man in the world; isn't he a perfect gentleman?
Of course he approves of every thing that is just
and proper; but he was very proud of Georgiana,
she was his only sister's only child, and she
was highly accomplished; he did say to me, in
confidence, that he thought it was a great pity for
her to join any society that would in a measure
prevent her accomplishments from being seen;
however, he says, Mrs. Butler, there is nothing becomes
a woman, after all, half so well as piety.”

“And I think so too;” I said, for I could not
but remember how surpassingly beautiful Georgiana
had appeared to me, when kneeling in
prayer, by the side of the sick woman's bed in the
Five Points.

“Why, yes,” said Mrs. Butler, slowly, “it is
quite interesting. But young ladies were not so
presuming in such matters when I was a young
lady, as they are now.”

Just at this moment, a carriage stopped in front
of the house, and Mrs. Butler bustled out of the
office, and left me alone to my thoughts.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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