A policeman came on Tuesday to take some returns, and to him I entrusted the posting of my letters, and then eagerly waited for the reply which was to give me glorious release.
The nearest post-office was eight miles distant, and thither Jimmy was dispatched on horseback twice a week. With trembling expectancy every mail-day I watched for the boy’s return down the tortuous track to the house, but it was always, “No letters for the school-missus.”
A week, a fortnight, dragged away. Oh, the slow horror of those never-ending days! At the end of three weeks Mr M’Swat went to the post unknown to me, and surprised me with a couple of letters. They bore the handwriting of my mother and grandmother—what I had been wildly waiting for,—and now that they had come at last I had not the nerve to open them while any one was observing me. All day I carried them in my bosom till my work was done, when I shut myself in my room and tore the envelopes open to read first my grannie’s letter, which contained two:
My dear child,
I have been a long time answering your letter on account of waiting to consult your mother. I was willing to take you back, but your mother is not agreeable, so I cannot interfere between you. I enclose your mother’s letter, so you can see how I stand in the matter. Try and do good where you are. We cannot get what we would like in this world, and must bow to God’s will. He will always, &c.
Mother’s Letter to Grannie
My dear Mother,
I am truly grieved that Sybylla should have written and worried you. Take no notice of her; it is only while she is unused to the place. She will soon settle down. She has always been a trial to me, and it is no use of taking notice of her complaints, which no doubt are greatly exaggerated, as she was never contented at home. I don’t know where her rebellious spirit will eventually lead her. I hope M’Swat’s will tame her; it will do her good. It is absolutely necessary that she should remain there, so do not say anything to give her other ideas &c.
Mother’s Letter to Me
My dear Sybylla,
I wish you would not write and worry your poor old grandmother, who has been so good to you. You must try and put up with things; you cannot expect to find it like holidaying at Caddagat. Be careful not to give offence to any one, as it would be awkward for us. What is wrong with the place? Have you too much work to do? Do you not get sufficient to cat? Are they unkind to you, or what? Why don’t you have sense and not talk of getting another place, as it is utterly impossible; and unless you remain there, how are we to pay the interest on that money? I’ve always been a good mother to you, and the least you might do in return is this, when you know how we are situated. Ask God &c.