“After all,” I said, after a pause, “it would be very good for poor Arghouse if you thought it right.”
“I should not be very good for Arghouse if I did such a thing as that,” returned Harold. “No, poor old Eu, I’m not going to disturb him because he has got out of my hands, and I think she will take care of the people. I daresay I bullied him more than was bearable.”
Would Harold have so forgiven even Eustace’s ingratitude three years ago?
We had a happy time after that; our Sunday was a very glad and peaceful one, with our thanksgiving in the morning, and Dora’s pleasure in the dear old children’s service in the afternoon. Poor child, she liked everything that she had only submitted to when she was with us, and Harold took her away on the Monday in a more resigned frame of mind, with a kind of promise that she would be good if the Horsmans would let her.
Then came the removal, and I must say there was some compensation for the pain of leaving my old home in that sense of snugness and liberty in our new plenishing, rather like the playing at doll’s houses. We had stable room for Harold’s horse and my pony—the kangaroo, alas! had pined and died the winter that Harold was away; the garden was practicable, and the rooms were capable of being made home-like and pleasant.
The Tracys were out of reach for the present. Dermot was gone to Ireland, and Lady Diana and her daughter were making a long round of visits among friends, so that there was nothing for it but waiting, and as it was hopeful waiting, enlivened by Viola’s letters to me, Harold endured it very happily, having indeed much to think about.
There was Prometesky’s health. It was ascertained that he must undergo an operation, and when we found that all the requisite skill could be had near at hand, I overruled the scruples about alarming or distressing me. I knew that it would be better for him to be watched by George Yolland, and for Harold to be at home, and I had come to love the old man very heartily.
One day of expectation, in which he was the most calm and resolute of us, one anxious day when they sent me to Miss Woolmer, until Harold came, thankful and hopeful to fetch me, a few more of nursing accepted with touching gratitude, and he was soon downstairs again, a hale old man, though nearly seventy, but more than ever bent on his retreat to La Trappe. It distressed us much. He seemed so much to enjoy intelligent talk with Miss Woolmer and the Yollands; he so delighted in books, and took such fresh interest in all, whether mechanical or moral, that was doing at the Hydriots—of which, by-the-by, as first inventor, the company had contrived, at Harold’s suggestion, to make him a shareholder to an extent that would cover all his modest needs, I could not think how he would bear the change.