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Chapter 2
Jane Fairfax was an orphan, the only child of Mrs. Bates's youngest daughter.
The marriage of Lieut. Fairfax of the------ regiment of infantry, and Miss Jane
Bates, had had its day of fame and pleasure, hope and interest; but nothing now
remained of it, save the melancholy remembrance of him dying in action abroad--
of his widow sinking under consumption and grief soon afterwards--and this girl.
By birth she belonged to Highbury: and when at three years old, on losing her
mother, she became the property, the charge, the consolation, the fondling of her
grandmother and aunt, there had seemed every probability of her being
permanently fixed there; of her being taught only what very limited means could
command, and growing up with no advantages of connection or improvement, to
be engrafted on what nature had given her in a pleasing person, good
understanding, and warm-hearted, well-meaning relations.
But the compassionate feelings of a friend of her father gave a change to her
destiny. This was Colonel Campbell, who had very highly regarded Fairfax, as an
excellent officer and most deserving young man; and farther, had been indebted
to him for such attentions, during a severe camp-fever, as he believed had saved
his life. These were claims which he did not learn to overlook, though some years
passed away from the death of poor Fairfax, before his own return to England put
any thing in his power. When he did return, he sought out the child and took
notice of her. He was a married man, with only one living child, a girl, about
Jane's age: and Jane became their guest, paying them long visits and growing a
favourite with all; and before she was nine years old, his daughter's great
fondness for her, and his own wish of being a real friend, united to produce an
offer from Colonel Campbell of undertaking the whole charge of her education. It
was accepted; and from that period Jane had belonged to Colonel Campbell's
family, and had lived with them entirely, only visiting her grandmother from time
to time.
The plan was that she should be brought up for educating others; the very few
hundred pounds which she inherited from her father making independence
impossible. To provide for her otherwise was out of Colonel Campbell's power;
for though his income, by pay and appointments, was handsome, his fortune was
moderate and must be all his daughter's; but, by giving her an education, he
hoped to be supplying the means of respectable subsistence hereafter.
Such was Jane Fairfax's history. She had fallen into good hands, known nothing
but kindness from the Campbells, and been given an excellent education. Living
constantly with right-minded and well-informed people, her heart and
understanding had received every advantage of discipline and culture; and
Colonel Campbell's residence being in London, every lighter talent had been
done full justice to, by the attendance of first-rate masters. Her disposition and
abilities were equally worthy of all that friendship could do; and at eighteen or
nineteen she was, as far as such an early age can be qualified for the care of
children, fully competent to the office of instruction herself; but she was too much
beloved to be parted with. Neither father nor mother could promote, and the