2. CHAPTER II
Captain Weston, who had been considered, especially by the Churchills,
as making such an amazing match, was proved to have much the worst
of the bargain; for when his wife died, after a three years' marriage,
he was rather a poorer man than at first, and with a child to maintain.
From the expense of the child, however, he was soon relieved.
The boy had, with the additional softening claim of a lingering
illness of his mother's, been the means of a sort of reconciliation;
and Mr. and Mrs. Churchill, having no children of their own,
nor any other young creature of equal kindred to care for, offered to
take the whole charge of the little Frank soon after her decease.
Some scruples and some reluctance the widower-father may be supposed
to have felt; but as they were overcome by other considerations,
the child was given up to the care and the wealth of the Churchills,
and he had only his own comfort to seek, and his own situation to
improve as he could.
A complete change of life became desirable. He quitted the militia
and engaged in trade, having brothers already established in a
good way in London, which afforded him a favourable opening.
It was a concern which brought just employment enough. He had still
a small house in Highbury, where most of his leisure days were spent;
and between useful occupation and the pleasures of society,
the next eighteen or twenty years of his life passed cheerfully away.
He had, by that time, realised an easy competence--enough to secure
the purchase of a little estate adjoining Highbury, which he had
always longed for--enough to marry a woman as portionless even
as Miss Taylor, and to live according to the wishes of his own
friendly and social disposition.
It was now some time since Miss Taylor had begun to influence
his schemes; but as it was not the tyrannic influence of youth
on youth, it had not shaken his determination of never settling
till he could purchase Randalls, and the sale of Randalls was long
looked forward to; but he had gone steadily on, with these objects
in view, till they were accomplished. He had made his fortune,
bought his house, and obtained his wife; and was beginning a new
period of existence, with every probability of greater happiness
than in any yet passed through. He had never been an unhappy man;
his own temper had secured him from that, even in his first marriage;
but his second must shew him how delightful a well-judging and truly
amiable woman could be, and must give him the pleasantest proof
of its being a great deal better to choose than to be chosen,
to excite gratitude than to feel it.