‘I like to stop here as long as you are here,’ Emily said, in a low voice. ‘That is all I meant.’
’Then we’re all of one mind, I don’t want to go back to London. If you don’t find me in your way, I shall be delighted to stay.’
‘Of course,’ said Julia, ’we poor country folk can hardly hope to amuse you.’
‘I don’t know about that!’ exclaimed Emily. ’Where would he find any one to play and sing to him in the evenings as you can?’
The conversation paused, and all were happier that morning, though none knew why. Days passed, desultory and sweet, and with a pile of books about him, he lay in a long cane chair under the trees; then the book would drop on his knees, and blowing smoke in curling wreaths, he lost himself in dramatic meditations. It was pleasant to see that Emily had grown innocently, childishly fond of her cousin, and her fondness expressed itself in a number of pretty ways. ’Now, Hubert, Hubert, get out of my way,’ she would say, feigning a charming petulance; or she would come and drag him out of his chair, saying, ’Come, Hubert, I can’t allow you to lie there any longer; I have to go to South Water, and want you to come with me?’
And walking together, they seemed like an Italian greyhound and a tall, shaggy setter.
A cloud only appeared on Emily’s face when Julia spoke of their departure. Julia had proposed that they should leave at the end of the month, and Emily had consented to this arrangement. The end of the month had appeared to her indefinitely distant, but three weeks of the subscribed time had passed, and signs of departure had become more numerous and more peremptory. Allusion had been made to the laundress, and Julia had asked Emily if she could get all her things into a single box; if not, they would have to send to Brighton for another. Emily had no notion of what her box would hold, and she showed little disposition to count her dresses or put her linen in order. She seemed entirely taken up thinking what books, what pictures, what china she could take away. She would like to have this bookcase, and might she not take the wardrobe from her own room? and she had known the clock all her life, and it did seem so hard to part with it.
’My dear girl, all these things belong to Mr. Price; you really cannot take them away without asking him.’
‘But he won’t refuse; he’ll let me have anything I like.’
’He can’t very well refuse, so I think it would be nicer on your part not to ask for anything.’
’I must have some of these things: I want to make the house we are going to live in, in London, look as much like Ashwood as possible.’
‘You’d like to take the whole house with you if you could.’
‘Yes; I think I should.’ And Emily turned and looked vaguely up and down the passage. ‘I wonder if he’d give me the picture of the windmill?’
‘The landing would look very bare without it.’