C. If I don’t, the absence of such an important unit hurts folks’ feelings, and I am driven to the fabrication of excuses. After breakfast, whatever is available trots off to din the Catechism and Genesis into the school-children’s heads—the only things my respected forefather cares about teaching them. Of course back again to the children’s lessons.
B. What children?
C. Didn’t I explain? Three Indian orphans of my uncle’s, turned upon my grandfather—jolly little kids enough, as long as one hasn’t to teach them.
B. Are governesses unknown in those parts?
C. Too costly; and besides, my mother was designed by nature for a nursery-governess. She has taught the two elder ones to be wonderfully good when she is called off. ‘The butcher, ma’am’; or, ‘Mrs. Tyler wants to speak to you, ma’am’; or, ’Jane Cox is come for a hospital paper, ma’am.’ Then early dinner, of all things detestable, succeeded by school needlework, mothers’ meeting, and children’s walk, combined with district visiting, or reading to old women. Church again, high tea, and evenings again pleasingly varied by choir practices, night schools, or silence, while grandpapa concocts his sermon.
B. Is this the easy life to which Mrs. Moldwarp has retired?
C. It is her native element. People of her generation think it their vocation to be ladies-of-all-work to the parish of Stickinthemud cum-Humdrum.
B. All-work indeed!
C. I did not include Sundays, which are one rush of meals, schools, and services, including harmonium.
B. No society or rational conversation, of course?
C. Adjacent clergy and clergy woman rather less capable of aught but shop than the natives themselves! You see, even if I did offer myself as a victim, I couldn’t do the thing! Fancy my going on about the six Mosaic days, and Jonah’s whale, and Jael’s nail, and doing their duty in that state of life where it HAS pleased Heaven to place them.
B. Impossible, my dear! Those things can’t be taught—if they are to be taught—except by those who accept them as entirely as ever; and it is absurd to think of keeping you where you would be totally devoid of all intellectual food!
PROF. D. Miss Moldwarp? Is your mother here?
C. No; she is not in town.
PROF. D. Not living there?
C. She lives with my grandfather at Darkglade.
PROF. D. Indeed! I hope Mr. and Mrs. Aveland are well?
C. Thank you, HE is well; but my grandmother is dead.
PROF. D. Oh, I am sorry! I had not heard of his loss. How long ago did it happen?
C. Last January twelvemonth. My aunt is married, and my mother has taken her place at home.