‘To be sure they did, and stayed out of curiosity,’ said Lord Rotherwood. ’In spite of Emily’s dignified contradictions of the report, every one knew it the other evening. It was all in vain that she behaved as if I was speaking treason—people have eyes.’
‘Ah! I am very sorry for that contradiction,’ said Lily; ’I hope people will not fancy we do not like it.’
‘No, it will only prove my greatness,’ said Lord Rotherwood. ’Your Marques, was China in the map, so absorbing all beholders that the magnanimous Mohuns themselves—’
‘What nonsense, Rotherwood,’ said Jane, sharply; ’can’t you suppose that one may shut one’s eyes to what one does not wish to see.’
The singular inappropriateness of this answer occasioned a general roar of laughter, and she looked in perplexity. Every one whom she asked why they laughed replied by saying, ‘Ask Marianne Weston;’ and at length, after much puzzling and guessing, and being more laughed at than had ever before happened to her in her life, she was obliged to seek an explanation from Marianne, who might well have triumphed had she been so disposed. Jane’s character for penetration was entirely destroyed, and the next morning she received, as a present from Claude, an old book, which had long belonged to the nursery, entitled, A Puzzle for a Curious Girl.
’There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
And mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as useful poets dream
On summer eves, by haunted stream.’
On the morning of a fine day, late in September, the Beechcroft bells were ringing merrily, and a wedding procession was entering the gate of the churchyard.
In the afternoon there was a great feast on the top of the hill, attended by all the Mohuns, who were forced, to Lily’s great satisfaction, to give it there, as there was no space in the grounds at the New Court. All was wonderfully suitable to old times, inasmuch as the Baron was actually persuaded to sit for five minutes under the yew-tree where ‘Mohun’s chair’ ought to have been, and the cricketers were of all ranks, from the Marquis of Rotherwood to little Dick Grey.
The wedding had been hurried on, and the wedding tour was shortened, in order that Mrs. William Mohun might be installed as mistress of the New Court before Eleanor’s departure, which took place early in October; and shortly after Mrs. Ridley, who had come on a visit to Beechcroft, to take leave of her brother, returned to the north, taking with her the little Harry. He was nearly a year old, and it gave great pain to his young aunts to part with him, now that he had endeared himself to them by many engaging ways, but Lily felt herself too unequal to the task of training him up to make any objection, and there were many promises that he should not be a stranger to his grandfather’s home.