“Well?” said Mr. Carlyle.
“I gave a promise sir, to—to—my late lady—that I would remain with her children as long as I was permitted. She asked it of me when she was ill—when she thought she was going to die. What I would inquire of you, sir, is, whether the change will make any difference to my staying?”
“No,” he decisively replied. “I also, Joyce, wish you to remain with the children.”
“It is well, sir,” Joyce answered, and her face looked bright as she quitted the room.
MR. DILL IN AN EMBROIDERED SHIRT-FRONT.
It was a lovely morning in June, and all West Lynne was astir. West Lynne generally was astir in the morning, but not in the bustling manner that might be observed now. People were abroad in numbers, passing down to St. Jude’s Church, for it was the day of Mr. Carlyle’s marriage to Barbara Hare.
Miss Carlyle made herself into a sort of martyr. She would not go near it; fine weddings in fine churches did not suit her, she proclaimed; they could tie themselves up together fast enough without her presence. She had invited the little Carlyles and their governess and Joyce to spend the day with her; and she persisted in regarding the children as martyrs too, in being obliged to submit to the advent of a second mother. She was back in her old house again, next door to the office, settled there for life now with her servants. Peter had mortally offended her in electing to remain at East Lynne.
Mr. Dill committed himself terribly on the wedding morning. About ten o’clock he made his appearance at Miss Carlyle’s; he was a man of the old stage, possessing old-fashioned notions, and he had deemed that to step in to congratulate her on the auspicious day would be only good manners.
Miss Carlyle was seated in her dining-room, her hands folded before her. It was rare indeed that she was caught doing nothing. She turned her eyes on Mr. Dill as he entered.
“Why, what on earth has taken you?” began she, before he could speak. “You are decked out like a young duck!”
“I am going to the wedding, Miss Cornelia. Did you know it? Mrs. Hare was so kind as to invite me to the breakfast, and Mr. Archibald insists upon my going to church. I am not too fine, am I?”
Poor old Dill’s “finery” consisted of a white waistcoat with gold buttons, and an embroidered shirt-front. Miss Corny was pleased to regard it with sarcastic wrath.
“Fine!” echoed she. “I don’t know what you call it. I would not make myself such a spectacle for untold gold. You’ll have all the ragamuffins in the street forming a tail after you, thinking you are the bridegroom. A man of your years to deck yourself out in a worked shirt! I would have had some rosettes on my coat-tails, while I was about it.”
“My coat’s quite plain, Miss Cornelia,” he meekly remonstrated.