‘The fostering an ugly little imp of independence.’
’Aye! you grandees have naturally a distaste for independence, and make common cause against it.’
’Especially when in a rabid state. Take care, Jem. Independence never was a Christian duty yet—’
’Then, you want me to go and live on the hoards for the sake of which my grandmother was left to toil. You would like to see me loitering about, pensioned to swell the vanity of Cheveleigh, neglecting my vows, forsaking my duties—’
’You unreasonable man! Is there no way in this whole world for you to do your duty as a clergyman, but hearing Northwold boys the Latin grammar?’
‘Then, what do you want me to do?’
’I don’t want you to do anything. You are the man to know what is right; only, Isabel, don’t help him to hate people more than can possibly be avoided; and don’t break dear Aunt Kitty’s heart amongst you. That’s what I care most about!’
When Louis bade his aunt farewell, he threw his arm round her neck, looked fondly at her, and said, ’Dear aunt, you won’t let them tease you?’
‘No, my dear, I am getting past being teased,’ she said. ’Vexations don’t hurt me as much as love does me good, and they’ll not forget their affection. It is all goodness in Jem, and poor Oliver will understand it when I have got him into our home ways again; but he has been so long away from home, poor fellow!’
’That’s right. I won’t be uneasy for you. Squabble as they will, they won’t hurt you. But, oh! Dynevor Terrace without you!’
‘Ah! you must come to me at home!’
‘Home! I’m like Jem, jealous for this old house.’
‘It is odd how little I feel these things,’ said his aunt. ’If any one had told me, when I tore myself away from Cheveleigh, that I should have it back, how little I should have thought that I could take it so easily! I wonder at myself when I wake in the morning that I am not more moved by it, nor by leaving this dear old place. I suppose it is because I have not long to stay anywhere. I can keep nothing in my head, but that I have got my Oliver!’
‘I believe it is the peace that is not of this world!’ said Louis.
ROLAND AND OLIVER
’Twas old ancestral pride,
’Twas hope to raise a fallen house
From penury’s disgrace,
To purchase back from usurers
The birthright of his race.
The Lump of Gold—C. Mackay.
Mary’s letter arrived not long after Louis’s return to London; and her calm, serious, beautifully-expressed farewell came upon him at last like a blow which had been long impending, but of which preparation had failed to lessen the weight.
‘Ah!’ said the Earl, when the chief part had been read to him, ’she is admirable and excellent as ever. It is a great disappointment that she is unattainable, but I am glad she writes so sensibly, and sees that it is right you should think no more about her. After all, the connexion with that fellow Ponsonby might have been very troublesome, and it is well, as she says, that it was all over while you are so young.’