’Prepare him for it. Soothe him in advance. Why, dear Janet, you can reconcile him to anything in a minute.’
‘Lie to him downright?’
’Now what on earth is the meaning of that, and why can’t you speak mildly?’
’I suppose I speak as I feel. I’m a plain speaker, a plain person. You don’t give me an easy task, friend Harry.’
’If you believe in his generosity, Janet, should you be afraid to put it to proof?’
’Grandada’s generosity, Harry? I do believe in it as I believe in my own life. It happens to be the very thing I must keep myself from rousing in him, to be of any service to you. Look at the old house!’ She changed her tone. ’Looking on old Riversley with the eyes of my head even, I think I’m looking at something far away in the memory. Perhaps the deep red brick causes it. There never was a house with so many beautiful creepers. Bright as they are, you notice the roses on the wall. There’s a face for me forever from every window; and good-bye, Riversley ! Harry, I’ll obey your wishes.’
So saying, she headed me, trotting down the heath-track.
JANET RENOUNCES ME
An illness of old Sewis, the butler,—amazingly resembling a sick monkey in his bed,—kept me from paying a visit to Temple and seeing my father for several weeks, during which time Janet loyally accustomed the squire to hear of the German princess, and she did it with a decent and agreeable cheerfulness that I quite approved of. I should have been enraged at a martyr-like appearance on her part, for I demanded a sprightly devotion to my interests, considering love so holy a thing, that where it existed, all surrounding persons were bound to do it homage and service. We were thrown together a great deal in attending on poor old Sewis, who would lie on his pillows recounting for hours my father’s midnight summons of the inhabitants of Riversley, and his little Harry’s infant expedition into the world. Temple and Heriot came to stay at the Grange, and assisted in some rough scene-painting—torrid colours representing the island of Jamaica. We hung it at the foot of old Sewis’s bed. He awoke and contemplated it, and went downstairs the same day, cured, he declared: the fact being that the unfortunate picture testified too strongly to the reversal of all he was used to in life, in having those he served to wait on him. The squire celebrated his recovery by giving a servants’ ball. Sewis danced with the handsomest lass, swung her to supper, and delivered an extraordinary speech, entirely concerning me, and rather to my discomposure, particularly so when it was my fate to hear that the old man had made me the heir of his savings. Such was his announcement, in a very excited voice, but incidentally upon a solemn adjuration to the squire to beware of his temper—govern his temper and not be a turncoat.