Mrs. and Miss Aylmer had been about a month settled at a superior sort of cottage, near the New Court, with Mrs. Eden for their servant. Lord Rotherwood had fitted out the second son, who sailed for India with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkesworth, had sent Devereux to school, and was lying in wait to see what could be done for the two others, and Jane was congratulated far more than she wished, on having been the means of discovering such an excellent governess. Jane was now a regular inhabitant of the schoolroom, as much tied down to lessons and schoolroom hours as her two little sisters, with the prospect of so continuing for two years, if not for three. She made one attempt to be pert to Miss Aylmer; but something in the manner of her governess quite baffled her, and she was obliged to be more obedient than she had ever been. The mischief which Emily and Lilias had done to her, by throwing off their allegiance to Eleanor, and thus unconsciously leading her to set her at nought, was, at her age, not to be so easily repaired; yet with no opportunity for gossiping, and with involuntary respect for her governess, there were hopes that she would lose the habit of her two great faults. There certainly was an improvement in her general tone and manner, which made Mr. Devereux hope that he might soon resume with her the preparation for confirmation which had been cut short the year before.
Phyllis and Adeline had been possessed by Reginald with a great dread of governesses; and they were agreeably surprised in Miss Aylmer, whom they found neither cross nor strict, and always willing to forward their amusements, and let them go out with their papa and sisters whenever they were asked. Phyllis, without much annoyance to one so obedient, was trained into more civilisation, and Ada’s more serious faults were duly watched and guarded against. The removal of Esther was a great advantage to Ada; an older and more steady person was taken in her place; while to the great relief of Mr. Mohun and Lilias, Rachel Harvey took Esther to her brother’s farmhouse, where she promised to watch and teach her, and hoped in time to make her a good servant.
Of Emily there is little to say. She ate, drank, and slept, talked agreeably, read idle books, and looked nice in the drawing-room, wasting time, throwing away talents, weakening the powers of her mind, and laying up a store of sad reflections for herself against the time when she must awake from her selfish apathy.
As to Lilias Mohun, the heroine of this tale, the history of the formation of her character has been told, and all that remains to be said of her is, that the memory of her faults and her sorrows did not fleet away like a morning cloud, though followed by many happy and prosperous days, and though the effects of many were repaired. Agnes’s death, Esther’s theft, Ada’s accident, the schism in the parish, and her own numerous mistakes, were constantly recalled, and never without a thought of the danger of being wise above her elders, and taking mere feeling for Christian charity.