“May I come again?” Pamela asked.
“Surely. Augusta and I will look forward to your next visit. Don’t tire of Priorsford yet awhile. Stay among us and learn to love the place.” Mrs. Hope smiled very kindly at her guest, and Pamela, stooping down, kissed the hand that held her own.
“Lord Clinchum waved a careless hand. A small portion of blood royal flows in my veins, he said, but it does not worry me at all and after all, he added piously, at the Day of Judgment what will be the Odds?
“Mr. Salteena heaved
a sigh. I was thinking of this world, he
said.”—The Young Visiters.
“I would like,” said Pamela, “to get to know my neighbours. There are six little houses, each exactly like Hillview, and I would like to be able to nod to the owners as I pass. It would be more friendly.”
Pamela and Jean, with Mhor and Peter, were walking along the road that contained Hillview and The Rigs.
“Every house in this road is a twin,” said Mhor, “except The Rigs. It’s different from every other house.”
They were coming home from a long walk, laden with spoils from the woods: moss for the bowls of bulbs, beautiful bare branches such as Jean loved to stand in blue jars against the creamy walls. Mhor and Peter had been coursing about like two puppies, covering at least four times the ground their elders covered, and were now lagging, weary-footed, much desiring their midday meal.
“I don’t know,” said Jean, pondering on the subject of neighbours, “how you could manage to be friends with them. You see, they are busy people and—it sounds very rude—they haven’t time to be bothered with you. Just smile tentatively when you see them and pass the time of day casual-like; you would soon get friendly. There is one house, the one called ‘Balmoral,’ with the very much decorated windows and the basket of ferns hanging in the front door, where the people are at leisure, and I know would deeply value a little friendliness. Two sisters live in it—Watson is the name—most kindly and hospitable creatures with enough to live on comfortably and keep a small servant, and ample leisure after they have, what Mrs. M’Cosh calls, ‘dockit up the hoose,’ to entertain and be entertained. They are West country—Glasgow, I think, or Greenock—and they find Priorsford just a little stiff. They’ve been here about three years, and I’m afraid are rather disappointed that they haven’t made more progress socially. I love them personally. They are so genteel, as a rule, but every little while the raciness natural to the West country breaks out.”
“You are nice to them, Jean, I am sure.”
“Oh yes, but the penalty of being more or less nice to everyone is that nobody values your niceness: they take it for granted. Whereas the haughty and exclusive, if they do condescend to stoop, are hailed as gods among mortals.”