MRS. M. Now, dear father, you are not to talk so! Is not this my home, my first home, and though it has lost its very dearest centre, what can be so dear to me when my own has long been broken?
MR. A. But the young folks—young Londoners are apt to feel such a change a great sacrifice.
MRS. M. Lucius always longs to be here whenever he is on shore, and Cicely. Oh! it will be so good for Cicely to be with you, dear father. I know some day you will be able to enjoy her. And I do look forward to having her to myself, as I have never had before since she was a little creature in the nursery. It is so fortunate that I had not closed the treaty for the house at Brompton, so that I can come whenever Phrasie decides on leaving you.
MR. A. And she must not be long delayed. She and Holland have waited for each other quite long enough. Your dear mother begged that there should be no delay; and neither you nor I, Mary, could bear to shorten the time of happiness together that may be granted them. She will have no scruple about leaving George’s children now you and Cicely will see to them—poor little things!
MRS. M. Cicely has always longed for a sphere, and between the children and the parish she will be quite happy. You need have no fears for her, father!
II. BROTHER AND SISTER
SCENE—THE BROAD WALK UNDER THE VICARAGE GARDEN WALL, LUCIUS MOLDWARP, A LIEUTENANT IN THE NAVY. CICELY MOLDWARP.
C. Isn’t it disgusting, Lucius?
L. What is?
C. This proceeding of the mother’s.
L. Do you mean coming down here to live?
C. Of course I do! Without so much as consulting me.
L. The captain does not ordinarily consult the crew.
C. Bosh, Lucius. That habit of discipline makes
you quite stupid.
Now, haven’t I the right to be consulted?
L. (A WHISTLE)
C. (A STAMP)
L. Pray, what would your sagacity have proposed for grandpapa and the small children?
L. (A SLIGHT LAUGH.)
C. I do think it is quite shocking of Aunt Phrasie to be in such haste to marry!
L. After eleven years—eh? or twelve, is it?
C. I mean of course so soon after her mother’s death.
L. You know dear granny herself begged that the wedding might not be put off on that account.
C. Mr. Holland might come and live here.
L. Perhaps he thinks he has a right to be consulted.
C. Then she might take those children away with her.
L. Leaving grandpapa alone.
C. The Curate might live in the house.
L. Lively and satisfactory to mother. Come now, Cis, why are you so dead set against this plan? It is only because your august consent has not been asked?