E. So that incubator-hatched chicks, with a hot-bed instead of a hovering wing and tender cluck-cluck, are the fashion! I was in hopes that coming down to the old coop, with no professors to run after, and you to lead them both, all would right itself, but it seems my young lady wants more improving.
MR. A. Well, my dear, it must be mortifying to a clever girl to have her studies cut short.
E. Certainly; but in my time we held that studies were subordinate to duties; and that there were other kinds of improvement than in model-drawing and all the rest of it.
MR. A. It will not be for long, and Cissy will find the people, or has found them, and Mary will accept them.
E. If her native instinct objects, she will be cajoled or bullied into seeing with Cissy’s eyes.
MR. A. Well, Euphrasia, my dear, let us trust that people are the best judges of their own affairs, and remember that the world has got beyond us. Mary was always a sensible, right-minded girl, and I cannot believe her as blind as you would make out.
E. At any rate, dear papa, you never have to say to her as to me, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’
SCENE.—DARKGLADE VICARAGE DRAWING-ROOM.
MRS. M. So, my dear, you think it impossible to be happy here?
C. Little Mamsey, why WILL you never understand? It is not a question of happiness, but of duty to myself.
MRS. M. And that is—
C. Not to throw away all my chances of self-improvement by burrowing into this hole.
MRS. M. Oh, my dear, I don’t like to hear you call it so.
C. Yes, I know you care for it. You were bred up here, and know nothing better, poor old Mamsey, and pottering suits you exactly; but it is too much to ask me to sacrifice my wider fields of culture and usefulness.
MRS. M. Grandpapa would enjoy nothing so much as reading with you. He said so.
C. Oxford half a century old and wearing off ever since. No, I thank you! Besides, it is not only physical science, but art.
MRS. M. There’s the School of Art at Holbrook.
C. My dear mother, I am far past country schools of art!
MRS. M. It is not as if you intended to take up art as a profession.
C. Mother! will nothing ever make you understand? Nothing ought to be half-studied, merely to pass away the time as an ACCOMPLISHMENT (UTTERED WITH INFINITE SCORN, ACCENTUATED ON THE SECOND SYLLABLE), just to do things to sell at bazaars. No! Art with me means work worthy of exhibition, with a market-price, and founded on a thorough knowledge of the secrets of the human frame.
MRS. M. Those classes! I don’t like all I hear of them, or their attendants.
C. If you WILL listen to all the gossip of all the old women of both sexes, I can’t help it! Can’t you trust to innocence and earnestness?