“You are quite sure you will not miss me, grandpapa—quite sure you can do without me?” she affectionately pleaded.
“Yes, yes, I can do without you. I shall miss you, and shall be glad to see you home again, but you have deserved your holiday, and Lady Latimer might feel hurt if I refused to let you go.”
Before leaving Woldshire, Bessie went to Norminster. The old house in Minster Court was more delightful to her than ever. There was another little boy in the nursery now, called Richard, after his grandfather. Bessie had to seek Mrs. Laurence Fairfax at the Manor House, where Lady Eden was celebrating the birthday of her eldest son. She was seated in the garden conversing with a young Mrs. Tindal, amidst a group of mothers besides, whose children were at play on the grass. Mr. Laurence Fairfax was a man of philosophic benevolence, and when advances were made to his wife (who had a sense and cleverness beyond anything that could have been expected in anything so bewilderingly pretty) by ladies of the rank to which he had raised her, he met them with courtesy, and she had now two friends in Lady Eden and Mrs. Tindal, whose society she especially enjoyed, because they all had babies and nearly of an age. Bessie told her grandfather where and in what company she had found her little cousins and their mother. The squire was silent, but he was not affronted. No results, however, came of her information, and she left Abbotsmead the next morning without any further reference to the family in Minster Court.
SUNDAY MORNING AT BEECHHURST.
Bessie Fairfax arrived at Fairfield late on Saturday night, and had the warmest welcome from Lady Latimer. They were only four at dinner. Mr. Logger and Dora Meadows made up the quartette, and as she was tired with her journey, and the conversation both at table and in the drawing-room was literary and political, she was thankful to be dismissed to her room at an early hour. It was difficult to believe that she was actually within two miles of home. She could see nothing from her window for the night-dews, and she woke on Sunday morning to a thick Forest mist; but by nine o’clock it had cleared, and it was a sumptuous day. She was full of happy excitement, and proposed to set off betimes and walk to church. Lady Latimer, in her most complacent humor, bade her do exactly what she liked: there was Dora to accompany her if she walked, or there was room in the carriage that would convey herself and Mr. Logger.