Next, Clara found her way to the cupboard, brought the shepherd and shepherdess to light, looked them well over, and satisfied herself that there was not one scar or wound on either—nay, it is not absolutely certain that she did not kiss the damsel’s delicate pink cheek—set them up on the mantelpiece, promised to keep them in order, and stood gazing at them till James accused her of regarding them as her penates!
‘Why, Jem!’ she said, turning on him, ’you are a mere recreant if you can feel it like home without them!’
‘I have other porcelain figures to depend on for a home!’ said James.
‘Take care, James!’ said his wife, with the fond sadness of one whose cup overflowed with happiness; ’Clara’s shepherdess may look fragile, but she has kept her youth and seen many a generation pass by of such as you depend on!’
’She once was turned out of Cheveleigh, too, and has borne it as easily aa Clara,’ said James, smiling. ’I suspect her worst danger is from Fanny. There’s a lady who, I warn you, can never withstand Fanny!’
Isabel took up her own defence, and they laughed on. Poor Uncle Oliver! could he but have known how little all this had to do with Cheveleigh!
O lady! worthy of earth’s proudest throne!
Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit
Beside an unambitious hearth to sit
Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown—
Queen and handmaid lowly.
A house in the Terrace was let, and the rent was welcome; and shortly after, Clara had an affectionate letter from her old school-enemy, Miss Salter, begging her to come as governess to her little brother, promising that she should be treated like one of the family, and offering a large salary.
Clara was much afraid that it was her duty to accept the proposal, since her uncle seemed very fairly contented, and was growing very fond of ‘Roland,’ and the payment would be so great an assistance, but James and Isabel were strongly averse to it; and her conscience waa satisfied by Miss Mercy Faithfull’s discovery of a family at the Baths in search of a daily governess.