“Sibylla, do you forget that we have no longer the means to keep ourselves? I must find a way to do that, before I can afford you a lady’s maid. My dear, I am very sorry; you know I am; for that, and all the other discomforts that you are meeting with; but there is no help for it. I trust that some time or other I shall be able to remedy it.”
“We should not have to keep her,” argued Sibylla. “She’d live with Lady Verner’s servants.”
Neither did he remind her that Lady Verner would have sufficient tax, keeping himself and her. One would have thought her own delicacy of feeling might have suggested it.
“It cannot be, Sibylla. Lady Verner has no accommodation for Benoite.”
“She must make accommodation. When people used to come here to visit us, they brought their servants with them.”
“Oh, Sibylla! can you not see the difference? But—what do you owe Benoite?” he added in a different tone.
“I don’t owe her anything,” replied Sibylla eagerly, quite mistaking the motive of the question. “I have always paid her every month. She’d never let it go on.”
“Then there will be the less trouble,” thought Lionel.
He called Benoite to him, then packing up Sibylla’s things for Deerham Court, inquired into the state of her accounts, and found Sibylla had told him correctly. He gave Benoite a month’s wages and a month’s board wages, and informed her that as soon as her mistress had left the house, she would be at liberty to leave it. A scene ensued with Sibylla, but for once Lionel was firm.
“You will have every attendance provided for you, Sibylla, my mother said. But I cannot take Benoite; neither would Lady Verner admit her.”
John Massingbird had agreed to keep on most of the old servants. The superfluous ones, those who had been engaged when Verner’s Pride grew gay, Lionel found the means of discharging; paying them as he had paid Benoite.
Heavy work for him, that day! the breaking up of his home, the turning forth to the world. And, as if his heart were not sufficiently heavy, he had the trouble of Sibylla. The arrangements had been three or four days in process. It had taken that time to pack and settle things, since he first spoke to Lady Verner. There were various personal trifles of his and Sibylla’s to be singled out and separated from what was now John Massingbird’s. But all was done at last, and they were ready to depart. Lionel went to John Massingbird.
“You will allow me to order the carriage for Sibylla? She will like it better than a hired one.”
“Certainly,” replied John, with much graciousness. “But what’s the good of leaving before dinner?”
“My mother is expecting us,” simply answered Lionel.