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Truth Stranger than Fiction.

Amongst my wife’s most intimate acquaintances was a Dr. and Mrs. Blundell, of Eaton Place, and as the doctor succumbed to the inevitable fate of man soon after ray marriage, the widow constituted me her guardian, and in virtue of that office had called to inform me she had let her house (furnished) at six guineas a week, and as she was going to Brighton for a tew months, would I kindly receive the rent and forward it to her ? In the course of conversation I asked her who her tenants were, and what reference she had with them, when she replied she had let the house to a widow lady, whose sisters ami brother lived with her ; that as in references, anyone could easily see they were ladies—besides, they liad paid in advance, and having no children they exactly suited her. The first time I called for the rent I was ushered by a boy in livery into the library, and the young widow—Mrs. Osmond Browne—received me. She was' one of those really startling, elegant women, only, and ; eldoni, to be seen even in Englanda pene it lady to all anpearance, in every sense of the word. She paid me the rent due. and made a few remarks about the comfort of the house, hoped I should airways come myself for the rent, and left such an ag. ee.tble and pleasing impression upon me that I caught myself thinking of her several times during the day. I felt, further interested, as, noticing some of my Hampshire expressions, she asked me: if I had ever lived in the vicinity of the* Few Forest;--and, on answering that I was born near Southampton, she also admitted to being born in that county. The forthcoming week T was introduced to the supoosed sisters, but as Mrs. Browne’s Irish cousins. Miss Evelyn and Ellen Murray, over on a visit during the London season. They , were both blondes, exceedingly ladylike, pretty, and Ixighly educated, as I could judge from the many 'conversations I had with them. They ;e mod to be so well off, that I was somewhat surprised one Monday morning with a request to call again the following week, and on calling to find they were put But. as throe week’s rent was then due, I called, again towards the end of the week, and was received as usual. lia a few minutes, Mis. Osmond Brown® made her anpearance, and although she looked somewhat agitated, I certainly was not prepared for the revelation her first question opened to me ; aslooking me full in the face, she stdd : “As a man of the world, of course you aim fully cognisant of our real position.” I was perfectly thunderstruck, for as a man of tho world, and up to that moment, I had f.attered myself a rather shrewd one, I had not the slightest idea they Were otherwise than Mrs. Blundell haddescribed' them, but sooner than betray my ignorance: —or rather, perhaps, my innocence—l bowed an acknowledgment, when she asked me to sit down and give her advice under the following circumstances : —She then told me that the friend who had placed these two Irish ladies with her had gone to Scotland for a week’s grouse shooting. But neither seeing nor hearing from him for now nearly a month, si • feared she had been taken in, and would i try and find out his, Sir Massey Stanley’s whereabouts ! I promised to do so, and soon found that his father was just then dead, and that he was in Cheshire in orderr to attend the funeral., which would takes place on the following day, and I communicated the same to her. She replied:: “ I also will leave town by this train, and will stand at the head of thatt grave,'and he shall see if ho can decora® me with impunity.” She was as goo 2l as her word, as two days aft er I receijrad a note wishing to see me immediately,, and after describing the journey, the position she took up at the grave. Ac.. that not perceiving her friend, and inquiring which was Sir Massey Stanley, found she had. been deceived cvc,u in the name, and. askeel what was she now to do? I request o 1 her to show me some of his letters;, and on one I discovered a crest which thei Pe; aid’s Office pronounced to belong to am English baronet, a married ran with * grown-up family, who bad overrun his income, and his friends to save him had obtained an appointment for him as Governor of one of the ishmds, and he had. already sailed. Fmdinjg ' all means of; immediate payment' gome, she proceeded! - to take off her diamond rings and goM watch, and laying them, down on-the tahto said to me, “ Take tliose and pay yourself,” hat as 1 declined to r.ouch them, and offered if she wo aid give me possession in a few davs, to leave the rent due: to her honor, she. burst into tears, and. .left me with many exprjssions of thankfulness at my 'orehearance. The world in the meantime hard gone on so evenly with respect to myself that several times during the two yearns that had elapsed, I had wondered what, had become of these: three beautiful hut unfortunate girls,, whom the world at large, and the female; portion, in particular, shows little or no; pity for, no matter' how Dying the circumstances, or how powerful the cause that may have, led to their downfall when, one Sunday afternoon, a lady drove up in her carriage-, and stopping at my door, asked to see rne, Tho servant girl had shown her into the p arlor, and while wondering who it could % 'ossibly be, I found myself again face ti > face with Mrs Osmond Browne. She had, she said, called, know ing how pie > sed I would be to hear the news s! * ! was bearer of—that Ellen Murray w?,a a dually married to an English earl, whmse name she gave me, and, further, t hat she herself had also married the only son 'of a merchant in the eitv ; that, b afore she would marry him, shehad in? isted that he would acquaint his mother „• with her whole history ; that hismotlw -r had sent for her, and given her cense - at to the wedding, and she was now, but 'for Sue estrangement from her own fami' ,y, one of the happiest of the happytrub - loved by her husband, and regarded, as s real daughter both by his father and mol her ; that she had brought tho rentdm ■to Mrs. Blundell, and to mo a sligibfc soi .vonir of her gratitude, which souvenir II .ave ever valued, as revealing to me theus me of her parents, she besought me to se 3k them, and I am happy to say was the id eans of again reconciling them to their 1c ist but still beloved daughter. T. W. G.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 32, 9 December 1879

Word Count

Truth Stranger than Fiction. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 32, 9 December 1879