On reaching home Fanny went immediately upstairs to deposit this unexpected
acquisition, this doubtful good of a necklace, in some favourite box in the East
room, which held all her smaller treasures; but on opening the door, what was
her surprise to find her cousin Edmund there writing at the table! Such a sight
having never occurred before, was almost as wonderful as it was welcome.
"Fanny," said he directly, leaving his seat and his pen, and meeting her with
something in his hand, "I beg your pardon for being here. I came to look for you,
and after waiting a little while in hope of your coming in, was making use of your
inkstand to explain my errand. You will find the beginning of a note to yourself;
but I can now speak my business, which is merely to beg your acceptance of this
little trifle--a chain for William's cross. You ought to have had it a week ago, but
there has been a delay from my brother's not being in town by several days so
soon as I expected; and I have only just now received it at Northampton. I hope
you will like the chain itself, Fanny. I endeavoured to consult the simplicity of your
taste; but, at any rate, I know you will be kind to my intentions, and consider it, as
it really is, a token of the love of one of your oldest friends."
And so saying, he was hurrying away, before Fanny, overpowered by a thousand
feelings of pain and pleasure, could attempt to speak; but quickened by one
sovereign wish, she then called out, "Oh! cousin, stop a moment, pray stop!"
He turned back.
"I cannot attempt to thank you," she continued, in a very agitated manner;
"thanks are out of the question. I feel much more than I can possibly express.
Your goodness in thinking of me in such a way is beyond-- "
"If that is all you have to say, Fanny" smiling and turning away again.
"No, no, it is not. I want to consult you."
Almost unconsciously she had now undone the parcel he had just put into her
hand, and seeing before her, in all the niceness of jewellers' packing, a plain gold
chain, perfectly simple and neat, she could not help bursting forth again, "Oh, this
is beautiful indeed! This is the very thing, precisely what I wished for! This is the
only ornament I have ever had a desire to possess. It will exactly suit my cross.
They must and shall be worn together. It comes, too, in such an acceptable
moment. Oh, cousin, you do not know how acceptable it is."
"My dear Fanny, you feel these things a great deal too much. I am most happy
that you like the chain, and that it should be here in time for to-morrow; but your
thanks are far beyond the occasion. Believe me, I have no pleasure in the world
superior to that of contributing to yours. No, I can safely say, I have no pleasure
so complete, so unalloyed. It is without a drawback."
Upon such expressions of affection Fanny could have lived an hour without
saying another word; but Edmund, after waiting a moment, obliged her to bring
down her mind from its heavenly flight by saying, "But what is it that you want to
consult me about?"
It was about the necklace, which she was now most earnestly longing to return,
and hoped to obtain his approbation of her doing. She gave the history of her