50 year old William Whittlestaff becomes guardian to Mary Lawrie, the orphaned and penniless daughter of an old friend, and finds himself falling in love. But Mary has already given her heart to John Gordon, who returns after three years' absence, on the day of Whittlestaff's proposal.
ggett, in her very heart of hearts, was deeply grieved at what she considered to be the poverty of her master. "You're a stupid old fool, Mrs Baggett," her master would say, when in some private moments her regrets would be expressed. "Haven't you got enough to eat, and a bed to lie on, and an old stocking full of money somewhere? What more do you want?"
"A stocking full of money!" she would say, wiping her eyes; "there ain't no such thing. And as for eating, of course, I eats as much as I wants. I eats more than I wants, if you come to that."
"Then you're very greedy."
"But to think that you shouldn't have a man in a black coat to pour out a glass of wine for you, sir!"
"I never drink wine, Mrs Baggett."
"Well, whisky. I suppose a fellow like that wouldn't be above pouring out a glass of whisky for a gentleman;--though there's no knowing now what those fellows won't turn up their noses at. But it's a come-down in the world, Mr Whittlestaff."
"If you think I've come d