“I remember it; but forgive me if I say first I think the whole is rather too—too lengthy to take.”
“Oh, that is only because manuscript takes long to read aloud. I counted the words, so I can’t be mistaken, at least I collated twenty lines, and multiplied; and it is not so long as the Invalid’s last letter about systematic reading.”
“And then comes my question again, Is good to come of it?”
“That I can’t expect you to see at this time; but it is to be the beginning of a series, exposing the fallacies of woman’s life as at present conducted; and out of these I mean to point the way to more consistent, more independent, better combined exertion. If I can make myself useful with my pen, it will compensate for the being debarred from so many more obvious outlets. I should like to have as much influence over people’s minds as that Invalid for instance, and by earnest effort I know I shall attain it.”
“I—I—” half-laughing and blushing, “I hope you will, for I know you would wish to use it for good; but, to speak plainly, I doubt about the success of this effort, or—or if it ought to succeed.”
“Yes, I know you do,” said Rachel. “No one ever can judge of a manuscript. You have done all I wished you to do, and I value your sincerity. Of course I did not expect praise, since the more telling it is on the opposite side, the less you could like it. I saw you appreciated it.”
And Rachel departed, while Rose crept up to her aunt, asking, “Aunt Ermine, why do you look so very funny? It was very tiresome. Are not you glad it is over?”
“I was thinking, Rose, what a difficult language plain English is sometimes.”
“What, Miss Rachel’s? I couldn’t understand one bit of her long story, except that she did not like weak tea.”
“It was my own that I meant,” said Ermine. “But, Rose, always remember that a person who stands plain speaking from one like me has something very noble and generous in her. Were you here all the time, Rosie? I don’t wonder you were tired.”
“No, Aunt Ermine, I went and told Violetta and Augustus a fairy tale out of my own head.”
“Indeed; and how did they like it?”
“Violetta looked at me all the time, and Augustus gave three winks, so I think he liked it.”
“Appreciated it!” said Aunt Ermine.
“And which is Lucy’s? Can
That puny fop, armed cap-a-pie,
Who loves in the saloon to show
The arms that never knew a foe.”—Scott.
“My lady’s compliments, ma’am, and she would he much obliged if you would remain till she comes home,” was Coombe’s reception of Alison. “She is gone to Avoncester with Master Temple and Master Francis.”
“Gone to Avoncester!” exclaimed Rachel, who had walked from church to Myrtlewood with Alison.